SPORTS

Calgary-born forward Tesho Akindele invited to U.S. national team camp

01/09/2015 03:50 EST | Updated 03/11/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - It appears Canada may have lost another soccer talent to south of the border.

Calgary-born Tesho Akindele, who declined an invitation to Canada's camp in November, has been called up by the U.S.

The 22-year-old FC Dallas forward has a Canadian mother and Nigerian father and lived in Canada — with stops in Calgary, 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 U.S. camp begins Monday and runs until Feb. 8, with friendlies Jan. 28 against Chile in Santiago and Feb. 8 versus Panama in Carson, Calif.

Akindele could play in the friendlies and still be available to Canada. He would have to play in a FIFA-sanctioned event, like the Gold Cup, to be tied to the U.S.

A Canada Soccer spokesman said Akindele, who played collegiate soccer at the Colorado School of Mines, has not been ruled out of the Canadian program.

"A line of conversation does remain between Tesho and our national team staff," the spokesman added.

Canada Soccer said Akindele initially agreed to join the Canadian camp prior to a November friendly against Panama before changing his mind.

The sixth overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Akindele was named MLS rookie of the year after scoring seven goals and adding three assists last season.

His FC Dallas bio has him Calgary-born but a native of Thornton, Colo.

Canada is not the only country to lose talent to rival nations and, currently ranked 112th in the world, is hardly a glamour soccer destination. But such defections are costly in a small pool of pro talent.

Teal Bunbury (U.S.), Jonathan de Guzman (the Netherlands) and Owen Hargreaves (England) are just some of the marquee talent that have chosen to wear the jersey of another country in recent years.

Canada has also benefited from players born elsewhere. English-born midfielder Marc Bircham for example, played for Canada before ever setting foot in the country.

Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley is also among the 28 players summoned by U.S. head coach Juergen Klinsmann for the January camp. With 91 caps, Bradley is second only to Clint Dempsey (110 caps) in seniority on the American camp roster.

The U.S. roster includes six other veterans from the 2014 World Cup roster. Akindele is one of 14 players looking to earn their first cap for the senior team.

Vancouver Whitecaps defender Christian Dean was also called up. The 21-year-old Dean, part of a U.S. under-23 camp recently, was selected third overall in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter.

MORE:cpSports