Canadian forward Tesho Akindele signs contract extension with Orlando City

Canadian international forward Tesho Akindele has agreed to a contract extension with Orlando City SC that includes options for the 2022 and '23 seasons.

The 28-year-old's previous contract was to end after the 2021 season.

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"I'm just really happy that I get to be here for the foreseeable future," Akindele said in a video statement provided by the club. "I had a great year last year, on and off the field. I love the fans, love the city, couldn't be more proud to be a part of this team and looking forward to big things in the future."

The Calgary-born Akindele, who also has U.S. citizenship, was named MLS rookie of the year in 2014 after being drafted sixth overall by FC Dallas from Colorado School of Mines.

Current Orlando coach Oscar Pareja had just taken charge of Dallas when Akindele was drafted. Orlando executive vice-president Luiz Muzzi was also part of the Dallas front office.

Akindele was traded to Orlando in December 2018.

"We are very excited to have Tesho continue with us in Orlando," Muzzi said in a statement. "He has shown true leadership both on and off the field since his arrival, as well as an innate goal-scoring ability.

"Tesho is a very important piece on our roster and a role model for our youth."

Akindele had 10 goals and two assists in 28 games (22 starts) last season with Orlando. Over his career, he has 34 goals and 10 assists in 164 regular-season games (91 starts).

Akindele has won 17 caps for Canada with three goals.

Akindele 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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2020.

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