FC Dallas striker Tesho Akindele using Canada call-ups to grow: "It opens your mind to the bigger game"

FRISCO, Texas — For FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele, bouncing back and forth between MLS and the Canadian national team has exposed him to a variety of different coaching styles.

In Dallas, he represents an American team playing for a South American coach in Oscar Pareja. But for Canada’s upcoming bout in the World Cup qualifiers, he will be playing for a Spaniard (Benito Floro) against a Central American team, Belize.

The drastic cultural differences from a soccer perspective have provided a unique learning experience for the 23-year-old.

“The teams play different tactically, so you pick up a little bit,” Akindele told MLSsoccer.com. “I learn different things from Benito than I do from Oscar. So you learn a little bit from different coaches.”

Akindele is expected to start in Floro’s 4-1-4-1 system, whether it is on the flank or up top as a striker. In his time with FC Dallas, he has also bounced back and forth between those two positions, with his most recent start up top and not on the wing.

And he thrived in that position, putting up a season-high four shots while also scoring the game-winning goal in FC Dallas’ 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

Even though his role on the team has changed consistently throughout his sophomore season in MLS, Akindele said he’s learned valuable lessons from Pareja that he plans to utilize in the international game.

“He’s helped me getting behind the defense,” Akindele said. “He’s worked on me faking and getting behind the defense. That’s one thing I can bring over to Canada, trying to get behind them and creating some chances.”

The reciprocal is also true for Akindele, who has brought elements of the international game back to his professional club.

“Benito is really about pressing all the time,” Akindele said. “I think my pressuring has improved from when I went to Canada.”

Akindele has certainly shown what he can do with Canada, despite being one of the team’s youngest players. Just as he did in MLS, when he earned Rookie of the Year honors last year, the youngster burst onto the scene with a goal and an assist in just his second international game – a 4-0 win over Dominica in June.

But the 23-year-old striker continues to heed lessons from veterans and coaches as he bounces back and forth from FC Dallas to Canada.

“There’s obviously players who you play against and with in Canada that play in foreign leagues, so they add in tips here and there,” Akindele said. “It opens your mind to the bigger game.”