Ayo Akinola, who plays for Toronto FC in Major League Soccer, will start representing Canada at the international level this summer after switching from the US to join Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team.
The move comes ahead of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, as part of an exciting international season that includes Canada’s return to the Concacaf Final Round of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
“I’m really excited to represent Canada at the international level,” said Akinola in a statement to Canada Soccer. “It’s a very exciting time for the country with all the quality that’s on the roster. Canada has been my home for almost all my life and I’m excited to give back. I’m ready to give my best for Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team in these crucial months coming up.”
Akinola was born in Detroit but grew up in Brampton, and played youth soccer with Brampton East SC and TFC Academy.
He was 17 years old when he signed his first professional contract with Toronto FC on 18 December 2017 as an MLS Homegrown Player. At the international level, he represented USA at the youth level from 2015 to 2019 and made one appearance at the international “A” level in a 2020 friendly match, according to Canada Soccer.
“It’s great news, we’ve been working for the last 18 months to bring Ayo home to play for Canada,” said John Herdman, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach. “He’s excited to get going and I’m looking forward to immersing him into the Men’s National Team environment.”