FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele wins MLS Rookie of the Year

BY Kyle McCarthy • November 24, 2014

Consider the campaign to Vote for Tesho a resounding success.

FC Dallas forward Tesho Akindele claimed MLS Rookie of the Year honors on Monday after finishing tied for first among rookie goalscorers.

Akindele, 22, held off Chicago midfielder Harry Shipp and D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum to win the award. He is the first FC Dallas player to win the honor.

It marks a stunning conclusion to Akindele’s dramatic ascent. FCD coach Oscar Pareja identified Akindele at a pre-SuperDraft training camp during his tenure as Colorado coach and took the Colorado School of Mines product with the eighth overall pick in January.

Akindele rewarded the faith by establishing himself as a reliable and versatile option for FCD. He scored seven times during the regular season and snagged Player of the Week honors after scoring a hat trick against San Jose in on Aug. 23. He finished the campaign with 26 appearances in total for playoff-bound FCD.

In addition to those regular-season exploits, Akindele also scored the opening goal in FCD’s 2-1 victory over Vancouver in the Western Conference Knockout Round on Oct. 29.

MLS ROOKIE OF THE YEAR VOTING

PLAYER CLUB / MEDIA / PLAYER VOTE (PERCENTAGE) WEIGHTED SCORE
Tesho Akindele (FCD) 29.1% -- 26.1% -- 31.2%   86.40
Harry Shipp (CHI) 22.3% -- 22.8% -- 27.9% 73.02
Steve Birnbaum (DCU) 16.9% -- 22.9% -- 23.3% 63.08

Akindele’s production prompted speculation about his international future. The promising forward holds American and Canadian citizenship, but he has not yet featured for either country. He rejected a chance to link up with the Canadian national team setup for the FIFA matchdate in November, according to a CSA release.

MLS also named its Fair Play winners on Monday. Columbus Crew SC defender Michael Parkhurst garnered the individual award for the third time (2007 and 2008) to mark his return to the league in style, while Philadelphia Union took home the team award for the first time in club history.


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