Folarin Balogun will officially represent the USA in international play. FIFA revealed on Tuesday that it approved a request by US Soccer to change the player’s affiliation from England to the USMNT. The Arsenal currently on loan at Reims striker could have chosen Nigeria as well.
Balogun, 21, previously represented England’s U17 before switching to the United States youth team in 2018. Then, the striker flipped back to England a few weeks later. Balogun made 28 total appearances for the Three Lions at the youth level before filing paperwork to represent the USMNT.
Huge season had nations in a tug-of-war over striker
The striker has been in demand in recent months thanks to a stellar season on loan at Stade Reims. Balogun has racked up 20 goals in 36 total matches with the French team. It remains to be seen whether or not the youngster will return to the Arsenal side or if they will sell him to another club this summer.
The new USMNT player previously spoke on his America ties in an interview with the Ligue 1 website. “My parents were on holiday there for a few months because we have family in New York,” Balogun said. “But very soon after I was born, we all moved back to London.”
“London is my city, it’s where I grew up, where my friends are, and if people ask me where I’m from, I say I’m English. But, yes, I am a mixture of all these cultures.”
USA gives Folarin Balogun more playing opportunities
Nevertheless, Balogun has chosen the USMNT. The Yanks give the striker a better opportunity at significant playing time at the moment. England currently has a plethora of quality strikers in their team. Harry Kane, Ivan Toney, Callum Willson, and Tammy Abraham have all been named in the England squad over the last year.
The USMNT, on the other hand, has struggled with scoring goals in recent years. Therefore, it could certainly use a clear higher-profile center forward. Balogun can now be selected for the U.S. squad for the upcoming 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup in June.
PHOTO: IMAGO / PanoramiC
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