Toronto FC announced Monday that the club has signed forward Ayo Akinola as a Homegrown Player. He becomes the 15th player in club history to sign for the first team from the Toronto FC Academy. The club has signed a total of 34 Toronto FC Academy players to professional contracts for Toronto FC, Toronto FC II and Toronto FC III.
“Ayo is the third product of the full player pathway designed at Toronto FC, playing within our academy to playing for TFC II and now the first team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Ayo is a versatile player that can play as a number nine or out wide. For a player at such a young age, he has a lot of physical attributes that include pace and strength as well as technical ability. Special thanks goes to Greg Vanney and Jason Bent along with our other academy coaches for their role in Ayo’s development.”
Akinola, 17, appeared in 10 matches, registering two goals during the 2016 USL regular season for Toronto FC II as a call up from the Toronto FC Senior Academy team. He made his professional debut for Toronto FC II on June 15 against FC Montreal and first start on June 21 against Louisville City FC. Akinola registered his first professional goal and first multi-goal game on July 10 against the Harrisburg City Islanders. He was also named to the USL Team of the Week for Week 16 during the 2016 season.
Earlier this year, Akinola represented the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. He appeared in five matches registering one goal and one assist. He spent time with the U.S. Residency program in Bradenton, Florida in preparation for the U-17 World Cup. Akinola also competed for the U.S. in the CONCACAF U-17 Championship in April scoring four times on the way to the finals.
TRANSACTION: Toronto FC signed forward Ayo Akinola
Birthdate: January 20, 2000
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
Hometown: Brampton, Ontario
Last Club: Toronto FC Academy
How Acquired: Signed with Toronto FC
Pronunciation: “I-OH AK-IN-OH-LA”