Top Stories

Folarin Balogun commits international future to USMNT


U.S. Soccer’s chase for Folarin Balogun appears to have come to an end.

FIFA announced Tuesday that it approved a request by U.S. Soccer to change Balogun’s national eligibility from England. U.S. Soccer also announced that Balogun is eligible for the USMNT as early as the Concacaf Nations League Final Four.

The Arsenal loanee had previously represented the U.S. Under-18 youth national team back in 2018.

Balogun, who since has represented England’s U-18, U-20, and U-21 national teams, arrived in the United States in March after withdrawing from England U-21 camp. His international decision comes just five weeks ahead of the European U-21 Championship.

“We are delighted that Folarin has chosen to represent the United States,” said USMNT head coach Anthony Hudson. “Not only is he an extremely talented player, he’s also a good man who is going to add value to our National Team both on and off the field at a time when the team is continuing to improve. It’s clear that he values his U.S. roots and we can’t wait for him to come in and be a part of the team.”

FIFA rules enable players to switch national eligibility before making a competitive senior appearance at international level. Balogun did not feature for England’s senior team.

The 21-year-old is having a stellar loan spell in France this season with Stade Reims, where he leads the team with 19 league goals. Balogun had previously dueled with Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe for the Ligue 1 Golden Boot award, however Mbappe currently leads that race by seven goals over Balogun.

“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?’, so for sure we were all on the same page,” Balogun said in an interview with U.S. Soccer.

“To be honest I was a bit overwhelmed,” he added. “I knew the U.S. was obviously a big country, but I didn’t realize how many people were involved in soccer, especially every time I went on social media I was seeing loads of comments with people saying I should choose to represent the U.S. It’s nice to feel that appreciation for sure.”

Balogun has made 10 appearances for Arsenal’s first team after excelling for the London club’s Under-18 and Under-21 teams in the past. He also spent most of last season on loan with fellow English club Middlesbrough.

His Ligue 1 season concludes on June 3 with three final matches left to play.


  1. Balogun, Zendeljas, both Tillman brothers, Musah. Dest..quite a list. The US has really never attracted such quality dual nats. It’s really about these young players looking the player pool, a rising program, and seeing a strong fit.

  2. What?! Awesome news! Hope he begins to feel more settled in and resumes the tear he was on. As well…….. hoping Pepi can find a good landing spot with a quality club not names Augsburg where he is valued and there’s ample opportunity to start. With those 2, we are… looking really good at striker. Nice to be able to say that!

  3. I hope fans don’t expect him to immediately light it up. There will be an adjustment period for him. Balogun and Pepi makes our striker corps much stronger. Those two will be competing for time in the years to come.

    • You’re kidding right?

      Golden Boot at the 2026 World Cup that’s what they are expecting.

      Guys like Vasquez might want to see what Mexico is doing these days though.

  4. good deal. and we’ve got a couple weeks to hire a coach not named marsch or hudson to give him real coaching before his presumed nations league debut.

    • I am curious to know who you think should be the USMNT coach. I can list a half dozen names but they are either really expensive or have no interest. Who is on your list of “good willing coaches in Jessie Marsch’s price range”

    • He kinda seemed over England to me. You don’t just decamp from their U21 setup and go shopping a new squad on your own dime – International flights are not cheap, and they are not something you just undertake on a whim. It seemed to me that he was thoroughly tired of the kids’ table, and to be honest he just blends better with the US team anyhow – they’re largely of an age with him, there’s a ton of dual-nationals with all sorts of accents on the squad, and he can make his own mark and not be buried behind a generation of EPL veterans who still have at least one more cycle in them. And everybody saw how good that young USA core was when we played England. I remember watching an English commentary feed over on Guardian and one wag commented: “We just lost control of the midfield”…to which another answered: “I wasn’t aware we ever had it to lose.”

      Even the English saw it. They also saw we really, really need a striker. Balogun obviously wasn’t blind to that either.

      Agree with those who think that between Balogun and Pepi we suddenly look vastly more set at the striker position than we did in the World Cup.


Leave a Comment