Top Stories

Turner: USMNT would be “grateful to have” Folarin Balogun


Folarin Balogun has not represented the United States in over four years, but his stellar loan spell with French club Stade Reims could be exactly what propels him back into the picture with the program.

Balogun has continued to be linked with the U.S. men’s national team over the past season as he continues to be one of the top goalscorers in Ligue 1. The Arsenal loanee has scored 18 goals in 29 combined appearances in Will Still’s squad, with 17 of those ranking him third in the Ligue 1 Golden Boot race.

The Brooklyn-born striker last represented the United States with the Under-18 team in 2018, but since has featured for England’s U-20 and U-21 squads over the past four years. Balogun left England’s U-21 camp this month due to a reported injury, and still remains eligible to represent the Three Lions, USMNT, and Nigeria at senior level in the future.

Current USMNT and Arsenal goalkeeper Matt Turner worked alongside Balogun during the Gunners’ preseason camp last summer and voiced his feelings on how the 21-year-old could benefit the Americans squad if he chooses that route.

“I spoke to Flo,” Turner said Wednesday in a press conference with media. “We obviously had most of our preseason together, and I knew going into it he had some roots in U.S. So he and I developed a relationship pretty quickly. That’s pretty much the extent of it. We check in on each other here and there.

“He’d be a great addition to our national team,” Turner said. “I think he’s done really well, obviously, for his club on loan, and we’ll see. The decision has to come from the heart, because it’s not necessarily an easy task to come and play in these CONCACAF games. It’s a tough region at times. So for us, we’d be really grateful to have him, but his heart needs to be in it.”

Balogun’s production during the 2022-23 campaign has been a major step forward for the young striker after mainly featuring for Arsenal’s U-21 side over the past two seasons prior. Balogun made 21 appearances on loan with EFL Championship side Middlesbrough last season, scoring three goals and getting his first major taste of first team action elsewhere.

With the USMNT continuing to search for offensive options and Balogun yet to earn a senior call up with England, the door remains open for the forward to follow in the footsteps of fellow former dual-nationals of recent years. Yunus Musah, Sergino Dest, Gio Reyna, and Alex Zendejas are just a handful of dual-national to choose the USMNT over other possible destinations and Balogun could become the newest if the right moment comes.

“There is open dialogue with [Balogun] and his team and that dialogue is continuing, and that’s all I can say on that one,” USMNT interim head coach Anthony Hudson said Friday.


  1. Southgate basically going public saying Balogun isn’t good enough because he’s not in EPL. Seems like he’s getting out ahead of Flo making an announcement that he’s switching. This feels done. Why else would you just hang out in Orlando all week.

  2. two key facts here for the pro-hudson brigade. in his one MLS job he went 8W 10T 28L. that’s who you’re wanting to hire for NY coach over the star cluster who have proposed themselves. and balogun a few days ago had responded to our hudson “talks” by reporting to england U21 camp. this would thus be the traditional GB soft-sell — go try them out and come back. which suggests this was won as a debate in the player’s head more so than because we sold it so well.

    personally i think the fact we tied at qatar and we want him NT and them U21 should have sold itself and done so weeks ago when the disparity would have been clear. i think a better coach can make that abstract argument and doesn’t have to watch the player go the other way before making a u-turn.

    one player is much better than the other but to me it’s robbie robinson down in chile getting his passport only to u-turn. to me we systematically encourage that kind of brinksmanship and trialing of the other guy which is bound to lose you a few and complicate even the ones you win. how is a guy friends with turner being offered NT vs U21 even a debate. his english pro team has him loaned to france. his england system treats him like an age group player. you should skate that one.

    • Does Flo know a few guys on the US team yes. Did he train with Turner for a month yup. He’s known guys in England for a decade or more. He’s lived in England most of his life. The “slap” was “we think Harry Kane (England’s all time scorer) and Ivan Toney with 16 EPL goals” hardly got passed over for Zardes and Corey Baird. The US had very little bargaining power until last week. Rumors, and rumors are often false, is Berhalter or his staff were talking with Balogun last year but Flo was waiting for England this cycle. This isn’t college football in the 80s you can’t just pull up outside his flat with a Trans Am and a duffle full of 100s. The player has to want to switch.

      • Bro, Balogun played with the US U-18’s with the likes of Taylor Booth and others just 4 years ago, so this idea that he has no ties to the program is false and understated! I’d argue that playig for England doesn’t do more for him than playing for the USMNT, outside of playing in a few better national team tournaments(Euros, maybe Nations League)that the US couldn’t provide, but the marketing and sponsorships that he be afforded here in the states being a top player in the team for me outweighs what England could offer him, but the big one is the next WC is here on American soil and he’d be leading the line for the US in a WC at home

      • Ronnie, I think he’s coming but if he doesn’t there’s plenty of reasons. He played with Booth and Reynolds for a week 4 years ago. He’s been with Bakayo Saka since they were 7 years old at Arsenal! I don’t know if Smith-Rowe is going to be a regular with England but he’s played with Flo since 2010. Many of the guys on the U21 team he’s played with since he U17, so 4 or 5 camps over the last 5 or 6 years.

    • Further clarification from Hudson, Flo met with staff and had dinner with some of the players. Yunus, Turner? Pulisic said he has not met him yet. Supposedly Flo trained at the facility away from the US before they took their flight to Grenada. I guess we’ll see if he’s still in town when US returns.

      • I think he’ll stick around as rumor has it he’ll be in attendance for the El Salvador game on Monday night in Orlando!

  3. I’m not one to say the status is ok the way it is but I have a feeling we may have our best man in charge now. No glamour, no pedigree and certainly not the ‘sexy’ one as Euro snobs like to put it. Let’s wait and see how this backfires into Berhalter’s face if Hudson succeeds in this period of time.

    • Seems a good dude that players get along with well-enough, he picked a solid roster and is adept enough at a presser- suppose he learned from past mistakes in that regard. But… what in his body of work says he is ready to lead a national team? There’s a world of difference what is asked of you between being a place-holder in friendlies in the opening frames of a cycle and being THE GUY at Copa or World Cup competition. If we have any ambition at all… simply can’t pick a guy because he just so happened to be milling around the facility when the seat opened up.

  4. n addition to no permanent coach, unless I missed the news, the USSF hasn’t replaced Brian McBride or Earnie Stewart yet. What are they doing at USSF, twiddling their thumbs? Maybe that situation won’t affect Balogun, but such uncertainty can’t be good for the national team.

    • Yes and no, two of those positions didn’t even exist 5 years ago. But it does beg the question who Flo and his people will talk with.
      There hasn’t been much out there but it’s sounded like they’ve found mostly people not interested in the front office jobs. Gooch Onyewu seems to be the only name that has come out who is interested. There’s been some rumors out there that they may just get rid of Stewart’s job and the women and men will each have their own person without the position overseeing the two.

      • what is the universe telling you when you have big names throwing themselves at you for the head job, and meanwhile you’re like, who is even bothering to apply for the bureaucracy layers. why do i need the middleman here. go back to the old way. some exec meets up with a big name in a hotel and with their agent we hash out a number. signed in a week. coaching next game. we seriously have to wait for them to hire, what, gooch, to then wait to see who he wants to hire? this isn’t exactly hiring the staff from dortmund or bayern or city or something.

        side point, surely the many USSF suits can handle the paperwork and business side of this, and IMO coaches should have selection control and a scouting and coaching staff as opposed to reporting to a GM apparatus that tries to tell them how to coach and who to pick.

        anyone even considered one reason the streaky players we chase don’t keep performing for us, or that the team doesn’t seem to fit together or to fit the system, is that non-coaches might have too much involvement in personnel and perhaps back seat drive as opposed to hire the coach and hand him the wheel?

    • i agree. we used to hire a coach in a week and i think are basically wasting a 1/2 year in what is already a 3-1/2 year cycle. even if we were extremely deliberate, 1-2 months per job, 2 layers. we should have had a new coach in january or at least now. at the furthest out, for the summer tournaments where he could call a bunch of dudes he wanted to see all summer, and implement whatever it is he wants to do.

      i don’t understand what the empire building adds. the hires for coach were better when this took a week. GB went through the bureaucracy and i don’t buy he was best available or even best in our application pile. i buy we implemented a bureaucracy sufficiently pliable where a parent could get them on the phone and cajole them about their kid’s PT, and then they hired the brother of a USSF executive. how is that process necessary.

      ideally you want the head coach making this pitch as you can sell the player on the coach’s name and prestige, and then in turn the coach can make a vague commitment of how he sees balogun fitting in the roster. no one has heard of the caretaker and he can’t commit his successor. and if he’s the successor this is in trouble and not the place to sign up.

      this is straightforward, the difference between klinsi approaching a dual national for the US that regularly qualified, vs sarachan talking to people. on top of maybe fixing the tactics and selection, a big name coach would be attractive to dual nationals in their own right. historically we rarely lost dual national fights because USA and because name coach.

  5. Big internet rumors yesterday that Flo was coming to Orlando. I think it’s mostly wishful thinking after he pulled out of Englands U21s.

    • Tactical Manager: reporting he is in Orlando with his agent to meet with US Soccer and will be watching the match Monday.

      • you starting to understand why it would very much help to have a big name coach lined up already, right now, able to seal the deal? this is a no-name losing caretaker coach who can’t promise the future.

        heck, if we had a real coach maybe he goes over to reims and hangs out in person.

      • he posted social media in front of a “here to chase tail” sign, which if you run a search is a mural on the front of an orlando bar/dog park hybrid called pups pub. he’s there and the real question is why. and i think we know why but this is where the journalists need to do their prying and get an official answer.

      • I don’t think I’ve ever said we shouldn’t have our manager by now. I’ve just said USSF has made it clear it’s not happening. Cindy Parlow Cone and I haven’t had coffee in awhile so I haven’t been able to let her know my concern. However, if your Flo Balogun you don’t need a manager to explain to you your roll. Show up instantly be the #1 striker, score goals. He’s not afraid of Pepi, Pefok, Sargent, Wright, and Ferreira. He’s just seen with his own eyes the US outplay England at the WC. This is, what’s my travel package and what endorsements can I secure, what can Nike offer me as a USMNT player. Kid is oozing confidence he doesn’t need a manager to tell him how good he is. You don’t walk away from England’s U21 camp with an “injury” and the immediately hope on a plane to Orlando, then post a pic of you in Orlando on your Instagram unless you’re pretty confident in what’s happening next.

      • Johnnyrazor and I see this exactly the same way.

        The kid is 21…but England still regards him as a U-21 and isn’t calling him to the senior squad. Nigeria still isn’t calling him and doesn’t have an opening anyway. He knows perfectly well International ball is a huge shop window that massively elevates a player’s career and marketing profile…but he’s still stuck at the kid’s table with England and even if he’s called up their lack of interest suggests forcing his way into that squad is going to be a long, arduous, and possibly thankless task, especially with Harry Kane ruling the striker pool for the Three Lions for probably the next 5-6 years at least.

        Then along comes the USA, who as JR pointed out, flashed all manner of talent at the WC and outplayed England on the field…the only thing we appeared to lack, in fact, was a top-flight #9. Our core roster is almost entirely young players right around his own age. We’re about to be hosting two massive International events where the “eyes of millions”, as he put it, will be on him…Copa America in 2024 and then the World Cup in 2026. And oh, yeah, he’s played for the USA’s youth teams before, he’s got friends on the squad from both his youth-squad days from both the USA and England, they’re succeeding wildly with the USMNT, and there’s also Arsenal guys like Turner on the USMNT squad as well.

        If I was Balogun, I wouldn’t languish at the kid’s table with England either. Why would I, when a country with five times the population (and market size!) of England is blowing up my phone recruiting me and obviously has a wide-open spot at #9 that nobody has remotely succeeded in locking down?

        It seems like a fairly easy call, to me.

      • Q: I read somewhere Nigeria did invite him this window but he declined. But not sure how accurate it was in todays world of “grass roots” media.

      • what you folks are missing is despite the blatant slap in the face to the young man deal ain’t sealed yet. i am suggesting a real hired head coach would have this bagged already. would have been in reims with him having a coffee. we want you. what, they want you U21? you’re 21 — like you’re saying. this should sell itself. but it helps to have the coach to get it across the line.

        the kid was saying “go where you are wanted” DAYS AGO. this should be a done deal, no injury excuses, in camp this time and playing for us. i think this is working out fine big picture but i kind of think a real coach has this signed and sealed for this window instead of the summer tournaments. because he can speak for the future and that’s what a young player like this wants to hear. when i was being recruited for college among my standard questions was how do you see me fitting in your program and how soon can i compete to start. an interim can’t make me that promise.

    • people are saying he posted social media today that looked like he is in orlando. they were offering U21 and we are offering senior team. this is no time for GB’s “shop us both” weakness. this is when you grow a pair and cash this in. enough “we chatted.” “maybe possibly he might do something in june if we ask nice.” do something. do it now.
      have him over. maybe put him in a game 10 minutes. are we so scared we might lose to grenada away or el salvador at home we can’t play a CF for a few minutes just to make our senior team pitch and work on cap tying?

      • Doubt he’s ready to commit to being cap-tied so this is a low pressure way of introducing him to the group and maybe meet some of the guys, he probably knows a couple already from youth teams. But agree it would be much better if we had a manager in place to take charge of the situation instead of an interim with a skeleton crew of coaching staff.

      • Mr. Voice,

        If Balogun does wind up committing to the USMNT before the permanent job is settled does that mean you are utterly full of shit about Hudson?

        Balogun’s interest in the USMNT has heated up it seems during a time when the manager has yet to be settled. But that does not seem to have slowed him down has it?

        Y’all act like Balogun is a moron.

        It should be obvious that even he can figure out that that the USMNT wants him and that he would be a big fish in a “small” pond here

        With England he would be just another anchovy on the pizza.

        His Orlando visit is a great idea. He gets to meet the players and that should go well. Allegedly he’s friends with Yunus ( Arsenal youth).

        He gets to put a little pressure on England. I think he’s waiting to see if England take notice. After all, what if England look like crap in their Nations League’s games?It’s possible that Southgate gets axed. And maybe that changes things for Folarin.

        Balogun has the leverage right now and has no incentive to rush.

        And where you’re wrong here is that the manager Gregg/Hudson doesn’t really matter.

        Manager Southgate does.

        Duals don’t pick a manager. They pick a country, a program. A national team commitment is forever, permanent.

        So a player needs to be very particular about the country he picks. Once they choose they lose a ton of leverage. If you are unhappy at your club you can get moved somewhere else. There’s no moving from a National team. It’s play or not.

        When Gregg comes back Gio is going to have to decide if he wants to play in a World Cup ever again.

      • JR: all due respect but a serious coach hired in january or even february nets this back then and the switch paperwork is off to fifa and we play him when it goes through — likely in time for now. as with zendejas. i am saying the real deal can make the sort of commitments that get these done and the paperwork underway. if balogun is signing now this is a pure passion deal.

        re hudson, (1) you’re assuming he had a thing to do with this and not that the kid didn’t make his own decision (remembering this was left at “we are in talks” and he went to england’s U21 camp before reversing) and (2) the suggestion i have him pegged wrong as a coach is laughable. he has never won more games than he lost at any adult pro job he has had. he even lost and tied his first two games for us. i would pat him on the back for these two recruitments. but one thing college taught me is some coaches can recruit and some can coach but not necessarily both. i do think recruitment has suffered of late. i think we should about run the table on dual nationals because Merica and because of the promise this unit has. i think that we even had to fight over dest with his line of USAs on his resume is erosion. i am amazed GB got away with losing ochoa, araujo, and the others.

        i mean people used to never let rongen and co. forget losing rossi and subotic. and tchani switching to cameroon after getting a cap here was so rare it was like a trivia question type thing. but this is what politics does is water down previous standards. it suddenly became ok to lose a few or even be playing defense on the ones who should be easy.

      • IV: How does a “big time manager” net this in February or January? Seems pretty clear he was waiting on England and now he’s going where he’s wanted (aka the team that’s been offering a spot, but doesn’t rhyme with Sigeria).

      • “i mean people used to never let rongen and co. forget losing rossi and subotic.”

        People blamed Arena not Rongen for losing Rossi. Which is funny because, once it became clear that Italy would cap him, there was no way in hell Rossi was ever going to play for the USMNT then. Even the Bruce could see where the kid’s heart was.

        Balogun’s heart has clearly been with England but now that Balogun has built up a bit of leverage with his performance, he’s getting a better picture of where he ranks in the English pecking order. His flirtation with us is all about seeing how the English react and examining his best other option more realistically.
        I think he waits until he sees how England’s Nations League campaign goes.

        What would be hilarious is if England do badly, fire Southgate and then the USMNT hire Southgate.

        Rongen made some stupid comments about Subotic but that was just an excuse. for Subotic . The USMNT was always Subotic’s safety school and his third choice. His real first choice was Germany , which Subotic thought he was eligible for.

        It turned out he wasn’t.

Leave a Comment