Ayo Akinola is a young American footballer of Nigerian descent, born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Canada. This is why he is eligible to play for the US, Canadian or Nigerian senior football squad.
As a kid, he joined the Toronto FC academy and in 2016 he made his debut for Toronto FC II, a United Soccer League club. He came in as a substitute. His first start for the team happened a week later. Not long after that, he netted his first goal for the team. In a total of 14 appearances for the team, he scored five goals. In November 2017 he tried out at PSV Eindhoven but didn’t make the grade.
A month later, in December, he signed for Toronto FC, the Major League Soccer club, as a product of the TFC Academy and a home-grown player. He has so far played five times in all competitions, scoring a single goal.
At only 15 years of age, he played his first match for the US U-15 side and scored his first goal a day after his debut. In seven appearances for the U-15 squad, he scored five goals. Because of his good performances, he was soon called up to the U-17 squad. He played 12 times and scored six goals. Finally, in 2018, he was called up to the U-20 squad where he’s done really well, scoring seven goals in seven matches so far.
Recently, his good form culminated in him being selected in the Team of the Championship for the just finished Confederation of North, Central and Caribbean Association of Football (CONCACAF) U-20 Championship. The US team defeated Mexico 2:0 in the final game. On Wednesday, the Technical Study Group (TSG) announced the best eleven players from the championship, one for each position in the field. Ayo Akinola was chosen as the best right winger in the tournament. He scored seven goals during the tournament and shares the third best championship scorer place with five other players. He scored in all the games apart from the final against the Mexicans.
Akinola was one of the eight US players who were named in the tournament best eleven players. The Nigerian Football Federation has been keeping a close eye on the talented player, and we shouldn’t be surprised if they haven’t already contacted him to try and persuade him to play for the Super Eagles in the future. But since he is only 18 years old and still learning, he’s definitely one to look for in the future.