According to a Thursday report by Goal.com, US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has expanded the USMNT player pool by poaching an MLS forward out from underneath the noses of the United States’ northern neighbors, Canada.
Tesho Akindele, the rookie FC Dallas forward with seven goals, reportedly turned down a Canadian national team call-up earlier this week. As it turns out, that’s because he was either hoping for or accepting a similar invite from the USMNT for a pair of friendlies against Colombia and Ireland.
Akindele, 22, was born and lived in Canada for the first eight years of his life. His family then moved to Thornton, Colorado, where he spent his childhood and teenage years. Akindele went on to play four years of college soccer at the Colorado School of Mines and was a surprise first-round pick in this year’s MLS SuperDraft by FCD head coach Oscar Pareja, who discovered Akindele during his one year as head coach of the Colorado Rapids.
[ PROJECTED: USMNT’s latest roster ]
The reported addition of Akindele leaves the center forward spot a simultaneously crowded and yet empty position in Klinsmann’s USMNT player pool. Plenty of players have been called up and played over the last year — Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Chris Wondolowski and Terrence Boyd have all been given minutes during that time — but none have done enough for the USMNT, and perhaps more importantly in Klinsmann’s eyes, for their respective club teams.
Akindele would join the ranks of Teal Bunbury as Canadian-born players who later chose to represent the United States. Bunbury, as a word of warning to Akindele, used his one-time switch option in 2010 and is nowhere near the current national team discussion. An appearance for the USMNT next week wouldn’t cap-tie Akindele for good, as his only youth national team appearance for Canada came in unofficial competition. He would, however, be forced to use his one-time switch to again represent Canada and be forever tied to his birth nation.