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Tesho Akindele post-draft quote sheet

16 January 2:46 pm

Tesho Akindele post-draft quote sheet

By Daniel Robertson

Here's the full transcript of the conference call with FC Dallas first round draft pick Tesho Akindele:

What do you bring to the table for FCD?

I’m a goalscorer, and I think any team could use a goalscorer. I think I can provide assists and I’m also willing to do the work defensively. A lot of players that can score goals aren’t willing to do the defensive work, but I’m willing to work on offense and defense.

Have you had contact with Oscar Pareja?

I’ve definitely run into him a couple times just because he coached in Denver and I was there. I’m excited to play under him because he came to Denver and did really well with the team here so I’m sure he’s going to do well in Dallas. I’m glad I get to be a part of that.

Do you feel like this was a result of your performance at Combine?

It’s all surreal. Right before the Combine nobody was talking about me getting picked, definitely not in the first round and possibly not even until the fourth round. Nobody was talking about me. It just shows you how important every game is. I just had a couple good games. We played three games and I played well and my stock just rose. It rose a lot because of those games. It’s just a surreal feeling to have moved up so much. I’m so excited for this opportunity.

Talk about challenges of moving from D2 soccer to MLS

Everybody’s facing a difference in level, even the division I guys are going to be playing better opponents. I think in D2 the level wasn’t that bad. We played good teams and I think I showed at the Combine that I wasn’t out of place. It’s definitely going to be harder to play in MLS, but all of us rookies are going to be going through the same thing.

Talk about your playing style

I’m definitely more of a speed guy. With my size, I can play target forward, but through most of my career I’ve been more of a speed guy trying to get behind the defense and get around them on the wings with my speed.

Have you graduated yet?

I have one year left on my degree, but I withdrew from school because I can be an engineer when I’m 55 years old, but my soccer career has an expiration date so I want to get the most out of it that I can.

Was there any indication from FCD that they were going to pick you?

I had an interview with Dallas and they made it seem like they liked me, but I had no idea I would get picked this early. I was definitely thinking somebody would pick me up in the second round or maybe at the end of the first round. I had no idea I’d be the sixth pick, nobody seemed that interested in me. They kind of told me they tried to keep it a little bit secret that they might try to get me early, but I’m glad they did that and I’m just happy now.

Have you been to Dallas?

We played a couple teams in the Dallas area in my college career and I know a lot of people from my school actually live in Dallas, so I’ll know some people over there when I go.

Do you feel like you can contribute right away?

That’s gotta be my goal. I’m going to work hard. I know the level is different. I’m going to have to get used to the speed of play and the smarts of the players, but overall I think I will be able to come in and contribute right away.

Could playing at altitude give you advantage?

I think it might help me right away, but Dallas is a lot hotter and more humid than Colorado. That’s going to be hard to get used to. I think I’ll be in good shape because of my altitude training.

Has it hit you yet?

It’s definitely not going to hit me until tonight. I’m talking to you guys, I have everybody texting me right now so there’s just a lot of business to take care of right now, but once I’m able to relax tonight it’s really going to hit me how early I got picked and just how awesome this opportunity is.

Mom and Dad reaction?

They were screaming right away. I had a couple of my teammates from the School of Mines over, they were all screaming for me. They said they’re proud of me and I just need to keep working hard and stay humble.

Talk about your work ethic

It definitely comes from my parents. Growing up, they didn’t ever let me give up. If times were tough in school or in sports or any situation in my life they made sure that I stuck with it. That was instilled in me as a kid and I still carry those values with me today.

Are you looking forward to playing with anyone?

I’m looking forward to playing with all of them. They’re all professional players and I’m moving into their world. I’m excited to see what they can teach me about becoming a better player.