SPORTS

Calgary-born forward Tesho Akindele heads to MLS Combine in Florida

01/09/2014 03:52 EST | Updated 03/11/2014 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Tesho Akindele has made the most of his time at the Colorado School of Mines.

In addition to his electrical engineering studies, the Calgary-born soccer forward twice earned player of the year honours in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference

Akindele led the RMAC offensively in 2013, finishing fifth in Division II in points (47), sixth in goals (19) and 14th in assists (9). He was second in game-winners (5). He holds the conference career scoring record with 76 goals and set school records in points (185), assists (33), shots (296), shots on goal (167) and game-winners (19).

Off the field, Colorado School of Mines coach Frank Kohlenstein says he has tried to bring Akindele to the attention of the Canadian Soccer Association.

"They were never that interested," he said.

Akindele (pronounced Aar-Kin-DELE) has a chance to show his skills at the MLS Combine that opens Friday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Other Canadians among the 75-plus invited are Cal Poly forward Mackenzie Pridham and Wisconsin midfielder Tomislav Zadro.

"I'm really excited," said Akindele. "It's what I've been working for for my whole life pretty much."

The Combine is followed by the MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 16 in Philadelphia.

D.C. United picks first with Philadelphia second and the Vancouver Whitecaps, using a Toronto pick obtained in the Eric Hassli trade, go third and seventh.

Montreal chooses 10th and Toronto 15th, thanks to a pick obtained from New York in the Bobby Convey trade.

Kohlenstein says the 21-year-old Akindele is good at getting behind defences and taking players on one-versus-one.

"And when he has chances, he's pretty clinical."

Kohlenstein used Akindele as a forward or an attacking midfield just behind the striker.

"He's a very good goal-scorer and a good athlete," said Kohlenstein, who has coached the Orediggers for 16 seasons.

The school has had success against Division 1 foes and even beat a Colorado Rapids team, with Akindele scoring two goals.

Akindele was born in Calgary to a Canadian mother and Nigerian father and lived in Canada — with stops in Toronto and Winnipeg — until he was eight. His father, a financial analyst who also has Canadian citizenship, moved the family to Colorado for work.

The family home is Thornton, just north of Denver. His younger sister Sade plays forward at nearby Regis University.

The Akindele family gathers every summer at his grandparents' home in Kelowna, B.C.

Tesho has one year left on his engineering degree, studies he is willing to delay for soccer.

"You can always do school," he said. "You can't always run around and play soccer. So I've got to use my legs while I can."

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