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Ayo Akinola takes a knee after scoring 1st goal in 1st appearance for U.S. national team

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The Toronto FC 20 year old, who is still eligible to represent Canada and Nigeria, had a international debut to remember with the United States.

El Salvador v United States
Ayo Akinola #9 of the United States celebrates after scoring a goal in the 27’ against El Salvador at Inter Miami CF Stadium on December 09, 2020 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

TORONTO, Canada—Michigan-born, Brampton-raised Ayo Akinola finally made his debut for the U.S. men’s national team Wednesday evening, finding the back of the net in a 6-0 blowout victory over El Salvador.

Akinola, who started the match wearing the No. 9, scored in the 27th minute to put his side up 5-0, and instead of celebrating his dream debut goal as one normally would, Akinola elected to use the moment to remind everyone that there still is an ongoing rampant fight to overcome social injustice and racial inequality by taking a knee and raising his fist in the air in a sign of protest.

The 20-year-old Toronto FC homegrown product, who is still eligible to represent both Canada and Nigeria despite Wednesday’s appearance, had been named to the U.S. team late last month for the upcoming friendly vs. El Salvador following a breakout campaign which saw him score nine times in just 16 appearances and 11 starts for the Reds.

For Canada soccer fans still holding out hope for Akinola, it’s worth noting that the striker came through the international youth ranks with the U.S., and based on his social media interaction on Instagram since the announcement, it appears that he is geared to indeed commit his future to the United States.

But there’s still a chance.

Canada, who haven’t played in almost a year, are expected to be back in action in March and Akinola would still technically be eligible to represent the Red and White.

Though after Wednesday evening, it does seem unlikely, and if that is indeed the case, it’s a tough pill for Canada soccer fans to swallow, but I’m sure I speak for many Toronto FC supporters when I say that, regardless, we wish Ayo the very best.