Tesho Akindele has officially snubbed Canada and will play for the United States. The 22-year-old forward has accepted a call-up to the U.S. for their friendlies against Colombia and Ireland next week, according to Goal.
Akindele was born in Canada, but moved to the U.S. when he was nine years old. He recently applied for American citizenship and, if he has been called up, it appears as if he got it. That means he is eligible to play for both countries. It looked like he would play for Canada, with him being called up for their friend;y against Panama next week, but then he abruptly declined the call. That fueled speculation that a U.S. call was coming, and it has.
It is a little interesting that Akindele is being called in for European friendlies in the middle of the MLS Cup Playoffs. FC Dallas are still alive, and U.S. managers rarely call in MLS plays still in season for the November matches. It is possible that if Dallas beat the Seattle Sounders and advance to the Western Conference final that Akindele may pull out of the U.S. friendlies, but for now, having him in the team is notable.
Akindele scored seven goals this season, tied for the most among MLS rookies. He also added three assists and showed promise as a winger, in addition to his more natural central forward position. With that versatility, he could play across the frontline in a 4-3-3, which Jurgen Klinsmann appears to be moving towards right now.
Akindele is a big and strong forward, but he isn't overly polished right now. There is still a fair bit of development for him, and it will presumably continue during January camp, but he has the tools and a good developer of talent at FC Dallas in Oscar Pareja.
Nabbing Akindele is another dual national win for Klinsmann. The U.S. manager has made a habit of grabbing German-Americans, with an Icelandic-American and a couple Mexican-Americans thrown in. This is his first Canadian-American, but, to be fair, it's also the first chance he's had to grab one. The last time the U.S. was interested in a Canadian-American was Teal Bunbury, who also chose the U.S. while Bob Bradley was manager.
Akindele won't be tied to the U.S. for good next week. He will still maintain his one-time switch so he could play for the Americans and, in a few months or years, choose to switch to Canada and play for them. The only thing that will lock him in to the U.S. for good is playing in an official competition, like the Gold Cup, Copa America or a World Cup qualifier.