Ayo Akinola becomes 12th 2017 U-17 World Cup player to turn pro

Ayo Akinola signed with Toronto FC as a Homegrown Player, becoming the 12th player from the 2017 U.S. Under-17 World Cup team to turn pro.

He is also the 15th player in TFC history to sign for the first team from the Toronto FC Academy.

“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 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.”

Akinola, 17, appeared in 10 matches, registering two goals during the 2016 USL regular season for Toronto FC II. He played in all five games for the U-17s in India, registering one goal and one assist. He had four goals in Concacaf qualifying. After the U-17 World Cup, Akinola trialed at Dutch club PSV.

Akinola was born in Detroit but moved to Scarborough, Ontario, as a child. He spent time with the U.S. U-17 residency program in Bradenton, Florida.
2017 U.S. U-17 World Cup players in pros:
Carlos Joaquim Dos Santos (Benfica/POR)
Sergino Dest (Ajax/NED)
Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting KC)
James Sands (New York City FC)
Christopher Durkin (D.C. United)
Chris Goslin (Atlanta United FC)
Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC)
Andrew Carleton (Atlanta United FC)
Jacobo Reyes (Monterrey/MEX)
Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas)
*Josh Sargent (Werder Brmen/GER)
Tim Weah (Paris SG/FRA)
*Will sign in February 2018 when he turns 18.

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