Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun has received approval from FIFA for his decision to switch his international allegiance from England to the United States. This move comes as the 21-year-old, currently on loan with French club Reims, embraces his roots as an American-born player with Nigerian heritage, having been raised in England. Balogun, who has demonstrated his talent by scoring an impressive 19 goals in 34 appearances for Reims in Ligue 1 this season, expressed his excitement about the decision and his commitment to contributing to the success of the United States national team.
Born to Nigerian parents in the United States, Balogun’s upbringing in England provided him with an opportunity to showcase his skills on the football pitch. He had previously represented England at the Under-21 level but was forced to withdraw from the squad due to an injury. Despite his involvement with England’s youth setup, the decision by Folarin Balogun to switch his international allegiance reflects his desire to explore new avenues and embrace his American heritage.
In an interview with US Soccer’s official website, Folarin Balogun expressed his delight at the decision and emphasized how it felt like a natural choice for him. He described the excitement within his family, especially his mother, upon hearing the news. Balogun’s decision to represent the United States holds immense significance for him, and he aims to give his all to contribute to the success of the national team.
Folarin Balogun said “When I broke the news to my family they were all just over the moon, especially my mom. She said, ‘What took you so long?’
“To represent the United States means a lot, more than people would know. I’m very proud and honored to have this opportunity, and I want to give everything I have to make our team successful.”
Balogun’s loan spell at Reims has been nothing short of remarkable. With an impressive tally of 19 goals in 34 appearances in Ligue 1 this season, he has showcased his potential as a formidable striker. Balogun’s ability to find the back of the net consistently has not only caught the attention of fans but has also bolstered his prospects on the international stage.
By choosing to represent the United States, Folarin Balogun has injected fresh talent into the national team’s attacking options. His goal-scoring prowess and versatility as a forward offer the team valuable assets.
Folarin Balogun: Choosing the United States over Nigeria and England
At the age of 21, Folarin Balogun found himself at a crossroads. Born in England, he was eligible to represent Nigeria and the United States of America, but he had yet to earn a senior national team cap for England.
As a talented young player, Folarin Balogun caught the attention of Nigeria’s senior national team. In March, head coach Jose Peseiro approached Balogun and expressed his desire to cap him at the senior level with the Super Eagles. Peseiro outlined his immediate plans, including the AFCON qualifiers, and conveyed his intention to include Balogun in the team once the switch of allegiance process was completed.
However, despite the enticing offer, Folarin Balogun made the surprising decision to turn down Nigeria’s proposal. He believed that it was too early in his career to consider such a switch.
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