Canada Soccer logo - generic image

Toronto FC’s Ayo Akinola headlines Canada January camp roster

UPDATE (Jan. 10, 1:55 pm ET): Vancouver Whitecaps forward Theo Bair and Toronto FC's Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty and Jacob Shaffelburg have been added to Canada's January camp roster. It is the first camp for Marshall-Rutty, the 16-year-old Homegrown midfielder, while Bair and Shaffelburg join for the second time, having been part of last January's camp. 

Just two weeks after scoring on debut for the US men's national team, Toronto FC striker Ayo Akinola has been called up by Canada for their January camp next month.

Akinola, who is also eligible for Nigeria as well as the U.S. and Canada, scored nine goals in 15 games in an impressive breakout MLS season with TFC. That form earned the Ontario-raised frontman a call up for the USMNT, which he marked with a goal in the 27th minute of the U.S.’s 6-0 routing of El Salvador.

Having represented the U.S. at youth level, Akinola would have to file a one-time switch with FIFA in order to play for Canada. The 20-year-old has yet to make any firm decision about his international future although in October, OneSoccer's Gareth Wheeler reported Canada head coach John Herdman believed Akinola was leaning towards committing to Canada. 

“As a step towards FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, the January camp provides our Men’s National Team with an opportunity to re-immerse the group both tactically and culturally towards competitive matches in March,” said John Herdman in Tuesday's press release. “As this is the first time we will be on the pitch with some players in over a year, it will be important to focus on performances as we build towards the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”

The camp will take place at the IMG Center in Bradenton, Florida, and, as it is in a non-FIFA window, features mostly players from MLS and Canadian clubs.

In addition to Akinola, six other MLS players earned their first call-up: Joel Waterman (Montreal Impact), Cristián Gutiérrez (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Dayne St. Clair (Minnesota United FC), Alistair Johnston (Nashville SC), Tajon Buchanan (New England Revolution) and Ralph Priso (Toronto FC).

MLS veterans include Mark-Anthony Kaye (LAFC), Lucas Cavallini and Maxime Crépeau (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Richie Laryea and Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC), Samuel Piette (Montreal Impact) and Tesho Akindele (Orlando City SC).

The roster also features a first call-up for Arsenal teenager Marcelo Flores, who has represented Mexico at youth level.

Canada roster for January 2021 camp

Pos. Player Club
GK Maxime Crépeau Vancouver Whitecaps FC
GK James Pantemis Montreal Impact
GK Dayne St. Clair  Minnesota United FC
D Derek Cornelius Vancouver Whitecaps FC
D Belal Halbouni SV Werder Bremen II
D Kamal Miller Montreal Impact
D Frank Sturing FC Den Bosch
D Joel Waterman Montreal Impact
D Samuel Adekugbe Vålerenga Fotball
D Zorhan Bassong Montreal Impact
D Zachary Brault-Guillard Montreal Impact
D Tajon Buchanan New England Revolution
D Cristián Gutierrez Vancouver Whitecaps FC
D Alistair Johnston Nashville SC
D Richie Laryea Toronto FC
M Tesho Akindele Orlando City SC
M Marco Bustos Pacific FC
M Liam Fraser Toronto FC
M Mark-Anthony Kaye LAFC
M Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty Toronto FC
M Noble Okello Toronto FC
M Jonathan Osorio Toronto FC
M Samuel Piette Montreal Impact
M Ralph Priso Toronto FC
M Jacob Shaffelburg Toronto FC
F Ayo Akinola Toronto FC
F Theo Bair Vancouver Whitecaps FC
F Lucas Cavallini Vancouver Whitecaps FC
F Marcelo Flores Arsenal U-18
F Jayden Nelson Toronto FC
F Theo Corbeanu Wolverhampton Wolves