Ayo Akinola impressed in his U.S. Men’s National Team debut earlier this month with his first senior goal, but will now get a new opportunity with another Concacaf-based team.
Canada Men’s National Team head coach John Herdman released his 28-player roster for a January camp, which featured Akinola along with six other MLS-based players. No friendlies have been lined up yet for Canada, but it will serve as a new opportunity for Herdman to get a glimpse at several young, talented players.
“As a step towards FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, the January camp provides our Men’s National Team with an opportunity to re-immerse the group both tactically and culturally towards competitive matches in March,” said Herdman in Wednesday’s press release. “As this is the first time we will be on the pitch with some players in over a year, it will be important to focus on performances as we build towards the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”
Akinola, who is also eligible for Nigeria as well as the USMNT and Canada, scored nine goals in 15 games in an eye-raising breakout MLS season with Toronto FC. The 20-year-old has mainly featured for the U.S. Youth National Teams in the past, scoring 38 goals in 51 combined appearances between the U-17, U-20, and U-23 teams.
In addition to Akinola, six other MLS players earned their first call-up to January’s camp in Bradenton, Florida. Joel Waterman, Cristián Gutiérrez, Dayne St. Clair, Alistair Johnston, Tajon Buchanan, and Ralph Priso will all be joining Akinola next month at IMG Academy.
Several MLS veterans will also be included in camp with Mark Anthony-Kaye, Samuel Piette, and Jonathan Osorio serving as the headliners.
Canada is currently No. 72 overall in the FIFA Men’s Rankings, which is good for seventh among Concacaf nations.