The striker was born in New York to Nigerian parents but spent most of his childhood in England, making him eligible for all three national teams. Though he represented the Three Lions in youth competitions while rising through Arsenal’s academy, he has now had a change of heart.
Following FIFA’s approval of the request to change his affiliation from England to the United States, Folarin Balogun has formally committed to the U.S. men’s national team.
Balogun garnered attention during the March international window when he was first selected for England’s Under-21 team, but he later withdrew due to injury and left for independent training in Florida. Anthony Hudson, the interim manager of the USMNT, later acknowledged that he spoke with Balogun in Florida in an effort to persuade him to switch allegiances.
We’ve talked, as I’ve indicated before. We already spoke. We’ve had some chats, and he’s out here taking a little break before doing some training,” Hudson said in March.
“I think it’s been excellent because it gave us a chance to just talk about our program, who we are, and what we do. I hope we have another chance to talk to him. It’s been great, and I know some of the boys have also talked to him.
And the relocation is now finalized.
Balogun wrote on Twitter, “Let’s make history,” along with a photo of the US men’s national team logo and a clip verifying his transfer.
Balogun’s involvement with Middlesbrough and the Arsenal junior squad helped him become well-known internationally. Since then, he has made an impression while playing on loan for Reims in France, scoring 20 goals in 36 games across all competitions.
Lee Carsley, manager of the England U21 team, was impressed by his efforts and stated that Balogun made no hint of a prospective shift.
This week, Carsley added, “You can’t force someone to play for England.” “You know, we can only do our best to make him feel welcome. We think highly of him. When circumstances weren’t ideal, we helped him out. I felt he had talent since we called him up to the 21s when he was playing for Arsenal’s Under-23 team.
Just five weeks prior to his choice to represent the United States, he was scheduled to travel with the England U21 team to the European Championship, which would be held in Romania and Georgia. He will now probably play for the USMNT in CONCACAF summer competitions like the 2023 Gold Cup and Nations League semifinals.