Welcome to CPL50, a series where we’ll reveal the top 50 players from the 2021 Canadian Premier League regular season, as voted on by a panel of coaches from all eight teams and media from OneSoccer and CanPL.ca. For more information on the voting process and method, click here.
One of Valour FC's brightest young players slots in at number 43 in CPL50. William Akio, playing in his first professional season, made a tremendous impact for the club in 2021 and made a name for himself as an exciting, dynamic attacker. Akio was the only Valour player to appear in every single game this year, playing 28 times in the CPL and twice in the Canadian Championship. He scored eight goals to finish seventh in the league's Golden Boot race, and added three assists to make him one of Valour's most productive forwards. He was one of the driving forces behind Valour's late push toward the playoff spots, scoring five goals in the final six games of the year to help make it a very tight race at the end. One of those goals, of course was this sizzling solo effort against Forge FC, which may well go down as the finest individual goal scored all year in the CPL: In recognition of his red-hot finish to the season, Akio was named CanPL.ca's Player of the Month for October. The 23-year-old Akio, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp but grew up in Calgary, signed with Valour after a strong college career at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, with a stint at Calgary Foothills as well. The Winnipeg club signed him hoping he would add some pace and explosiveness to their attack, which he certainly delivered in 2021.
The rest of the CPL50 countdown is available here. Five more players will be revealed per day until December 22.