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Tesho Akindele declines Canada call-up, keeps USMNT in picture

The Canadian-born forward is on the verge of American citizenship and may choose to play for the U.S.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tesho Akindele had a great rookie season for FC Dallas. The 22-year-old scored seven goals and added three assists in 26 matches (18 starts), good enough to earn interest from the Canada national team.

Akinele was born in Calgary, but moved to Colorado when he was nine years old and has been in the U.S. ever since. He went to the Colorado School of Mines and reportedly applied for American citizenship in September.

As soon as Akindele gets citizen, he will be eligible to play for the U.S., something he appears to be interested in. Canada called the forward in for next week's friendlies, but he has declined the call, apparently because he wants to keep the door to the U.S. open.

If Akindele plays for Canada next week, he will not be able to switch to the U.S. The one-time switch only applies to players who were eligible for the country they were changing to when they played for the first country. Because Akindele does not have U.S. citizenship right now and is not eligible for the U.S., he couldn't play for Canada now and switch to the U.S. later.

The tweet indicates that Akindele's U.S. interest is not one-way too. The U.S. has apparently shown interest in him and it would not be surprising if Jurgen Klinsmann told Akindele that the forward would be called in for January camp, when it is domestic players only. That's a long ways from the first team and big tournaments, but it is a first step and a clear intent of interest.

Akindele can play as a winger as well as an out-and-out striker. With the way the U.S. has struggled to find options at both spots, having as many choices as possible is great and Akindele could be one of them.