Folarin Balogun, the promising USMNT striker, is at a crossroads as he contemplates his summer tournament commitments.

The talented 22-year-old faces a crucial decision that could shape his international career and his future with his club, Monaco.

The countdown to both the Copa America and the Olympic Games is underway, and the striker’s choices will be pivotal.

Balogun has earned 10 senior caps for the United States.

Thus, he is eager to make a significant impact on the international stage.

So, this summer presents two major opportunities: the Copa America, hosted by the United States, and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The player is in Gregg Berhalter’s preliminary roster for the Copa America tournament. However, his playing time is far from certain.

But players who may not get much playing time will get the consolation reward to feature at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. However, Monaco’s CEO, Thiago Scuro, has set strict guidelines that could limit Balogun’s participation in both tournaments.

Balogun chose to represent the USA in 2023.
Balogun chose to represent the USA in 2023.

Balogun chose to represent the USA in 2023.

What did Monaco say?

Scuro outlined Monaco’s stance, emphasizing the need to balance the player’s international aspirations with the club’s requirements. “It’s quite clear, we want to respect the wishes of our players and at the same time meet the needs of the club”, he said.

“To do this, we shared with those concerned our two conditions for accepting participation in the Olympics. Firstly, go on vacation before the Games, because they finish very late and we cannot afford to see them leave. Here, we will fortunately not compete in the play-offs for the Champions League, which could have conflicted with the Olympic Games.

“Then the rules are strict: the selection must include 18 players, including a maximum of three players over 23 years old. We will see if the case arises. For Folarin Balogun, if he is also selected for the Copa America, he will not be able to play both. It would not be fair to the club if a player could be absent so much without taking part in the pre-season.”

Impact of Balogun’s decision

Balogun’s choice will have far-reaching consequences for his career, both now and in the future. The young ace had a disappointing first season with Monaco, scoring just eight goals. As a result, he will need the summer tournaments to get back on track and highlight his talent to the world.

The 2024-25 season will be different for him since he has to decide between the Olympics and Copa America. Participating in one tournament would mean missing out on the other one.

His choice would be based on more than simply a desire for short-term success; he also wants to keep his reputation intact inside the club and be prepared for the next season.

Opting whether to represent the United States national team at the Copa America or the Olympics will put his priorities to the test. It could also determine his future in the French Ligue 1 and beyond.

Photo credit: IMAGO / Sportsphoto IMAGO / ZUMA Wire