Name
Ayo Akinola

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60%

Born
2000 (24 years old)

Birth Place
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Position
Forward

Status
Active

Ethnicity
Black

Team Number
9

Height
1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)

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Sport
Soccer

Team
Toronto FC

2nd Team


League
American Major League Soccer

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Ayomide Bamidele Akinola (born January 20, 2000) is a professional soccer player who plays as a forward for Major League Soccer club Toronto FC. Born in the United States, he plays for the Canada national team.

Club career
Toronto FC II
A product of the TFC Academy, Akinola was called up to the Toronto FC II set-up for the 2016 USL season. On June 15, 2016, he made his debut as an 80th-minute substitute for Shaan Hundal in a 1–1 draw with FC Montreal. Akinola made his first start a week later in a 4–1 defeat to Louisville City. On July 11, he scored a brace in a 4–2 win against the Harrisburg City Islanders and was named to the USL Team of the Week. He finished the season with two goals from 10 appearances.

Akinola trialled with Eredivisie club PSV Eindhoven in November 2017.

Toronto FC
On December 18, 2017, Akinola signed as a homegrown player with Major League Soccer side Toronto FC. He became the 15th player to graduate from the TFC Academy and sign for the first team, and the 34th academy graduate to sign a professional contract for one of the Toronto FC teams. On March 17, 2019, Akinola scored his first ever MLS goal in Toronto FC's home opener against the New England Revolution.

Akinola scored his second and third MLS goals for Toronto on July 13, 2020 in the MLS is Back Tournament in a 2–2 draw against D.C. United. He scored a hat-trick in his team's second game of the tournament against the Montreal Impact. He finished the 2020 season as the co-leading scorer for Toronto with Alejandro Pozuelo, both of whom scored 9 goals, although Pozuelo played nearly twice as many minutes.

International career
Youth
In April 2015, Akinola made his international debut for the United States U15 national soccer team, appearing in a 4–1 victory against Costa Rica. The following day he scored his first international goal, netting four in a 6–2 win against Croatia. He also scored in his final appearances for the U15s in a 3–3 draw in England.

In December 2015, Akinola was called up to the United States U17 squad and played 40 minutes in a 3–2 defeat to England U16s. He scored his first goal against Brazil in March 2016, before scoring a brace against Russia a few days later. In October 2017, Akinola scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory over Ghana at the FIFA U17 World Cup in India.

Senior
Akinola is eligible to play internationally for the United States, Canada, and Nigeria. Both the Canadian Soccer Association and the Nigeria Football Federation have reached out to Akinola regarding his future at the senior international level. Due to his parentage, Akinola is also be eligible to represent Nigeria if he acquired the country's citizenship. In 2018, Akinola commented “No time to rush. But at some point, I’m going to have to make a decision which one is the best fit for me.”

He was called up to the US Senior team for their friendly match on December 9, 2020 against El Salvador. He scored a goal in his debut for the Americans against El Salvador, taking a knee and raising a fist in the air following his goal in a show of support for the racial equality movement.

He accepted an invite for the Canadian senior national team camp for January 2021, however, he was forced to withdraw due to health reasons.

Personal life
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Akinola moved to Brampton, Ontario, when he was one year old. Akinola's younger brother Tom is a member of the TFC Academy and has attended a Canadian under-14 camp.



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