23 For January Camp
FC Dallas Forward Tesho Akindele Deserves a Look
The 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year was born in Calgary but raised in Colorado, and his combination of size, speed, and smarts makes him a no-brainer choice for the U.S. national team camp in January.
BY John Godfrey PostedTHE FIRST PLAYER on our 23 for January Camp list wasn't even on the ASN radar six months ago: Major League Soccer Rookie of the Year Tesho Akindele. The Calgary native, currently ranked 88th in the ASN 100, was enjoying a solid-yet-unspectacular rookie season when he exploded for three goals against the San Jose Earthquakes on August 16. From that moment on the 22-year-old became part of the ROY conversation. American fans quickly took note that while Akindele was born in Canada and had played for its U-17 team in 2009, he moved to Colorado at the age of nine—which made the FC Dallas striker part of the U.S. national team conversation. ASN's Brooke Tunstall interviewed the former Colorado School of Mines student and learned about Akindele's plans to take his U.S. citizenship test this past October. Assuming that went well, we think it's time to see if Akindele can pass the Jurgen Klinsmann test in January. As Tunstall learned, Akindele is a thoughtful man who plays his cards close to the vest.
December 10, 2014
December 10, 2014
“I was really flattered that Canada called me. But right now I think it’s best to focus on my club career and help our playoff push,” he said. He was coy about a national team preference but admitted, “You want to play for someone who wants you and where you have a chance to play. As for who that is, I don’t know. That will probably take care of itself.”A November 6 Goal.com report suggested that Akindele would be called up for the U.S. national team's two November friendlies, but he was not. Akindele finished his rookie campaign with seven goals and three assists, and as the video below demonstrates, the six-foot-one forward—who can also play out wide—is a gifted athlete. The United States men's national team is not exactly overrun with strong options at forward, which is another reason we feel Akindele is a perfect candidate for a January call. Per our ASN 100 ranking system, Akindele is already the 17th best American forward. OK—one down, 22 to go. What do you think of our first choice? Has Akindele earned the right for a callup? Tell us below. John Godfrey is the founder and editor in chief of American Soccer Now.