TORONTO, Canada— Ayo Akinola appears to have some clarity on where his future international career is heading.
Much to the dismay of Canadian soccer supporters, the 20-year-old Detroit born, Brampton raised forward has been named to the United States squad for their upcoming training camp next month.
Here’s the full 22-man roster #USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter just named for the Dec. 9 friendly against El Salvador in Ft. Lauderdale. pic.twitter.com/XdNcdSmeMh— Doug McIntyre (@ByDougMcIntyre) November 30, 2020
Because the match is a friendly and takes place outside of a FIFA sanctioned international window, an appearance won’t see Akinola cap tied to the U.S. indefinitely.
The decision will, however, put serious doubts in John Herdman and the Canadian staff’s hopes of swaying the Reds striker north of the border nevertheless. Canada’s competitions have been postponed until 2021 due to the current pandemic.
After a breakout season where Akinola scored nine times in just 16 appearances and 11 starts for TFC, the dual citizen’s commitment to either Canada or the USA was coveted publically by both Herdman and American manager Gregg Berhalter.
While the decision to take up Berhalter’s offer for December isn’t the be all end all of the Akinola international saga, it’s at the very least a sign of mutual interest between the two camps. Akinola, of course, is very familiar with the United States program, most recently being named to the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup roster before an injury ruled him out of the tournament.
With Canada not in action for nearly a calendar year, it’s hard to think the absence of immediate opportunity with the CanMNT didn’t influence the youngster's decision.
Ayo Akinola would be a tough loss for #CanMNT pool for sure. But at least it comes at a time when David, Larin and Cavallini are all playing at a high level and guys like Millar,Peruzza, Brym, Corbeanu and Bair are coming up. Canada will survive.— Mitchell Tierney (@mitchelltierney) November 30, 2020