Folarin Balogun decides to play for the United States instead of England

Folarin Balogun, a promising striker, has chosen to represent the United States rather than England at the international level.

Balogun’s request to alter his national eligibility from England, which he has represented at the Under-21 level, was granted by FIFA, according to a statement sent to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old Balogun was born in New York but raised in London. This season, while on loan from Arsenal to Reims, he has scored 19 goals in the French division. Additionally, he had a familial connection that qualified him to play for Nigeria.

In a video sent on his social media accounts that included the words, Balogun announced the decision, “I’m coming home” and “Let’s make history.”

“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,” Interim U.S. coach Anthony Hudson made a statement, “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.”

Following a successful season in France, Balogun has been in high demand. For all of the season, he had been competing with Kylian Mbappé for the top scoring spot, however the Paris Saint-Germain star has already surpassed him with 26 goals. Born in Brooklyn to Nigerian parents who had moved to London, Balogun said he made the decision to represent the United States along with his family.

“We decided it would be the right thing for me, to represent the country I was born in. In the end it became a no-brainer,” he said in an interview published by the USSF.

Balogun explained last year in an interview with the French league website how he came to be born in the U.S.

“My parents were on holiday there for a few months because we have family in New York,” he said. “But very soon after I was born, we all moved back to London.”

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Balogun also acknowledged “London is my city, it’s where I grew up, where my friends are, and if people ask me where I’m from, I say I’m English. But, yes, I am a mixture of all these cultures.” In addition, Balogun stated that “London is my city, it’s where I grew up, it’s where my friends are, and when people ask me where I’m from, I say I’m English.” I do, however, blend all of these cultures.

Balogun was courted by the United States and interim coach Anthony Hudson during a trip to Florida in March, and the best players are anticipated to be deployed for CONCACAF Nations League matches against Mexico, Panama, and Canada in Las Vegas the following month.

“Luckily for me, my first time is going to be in a competitive tournament so of course the ambition is to win and there’s not really much more to it,” Balogun said in the USSF interview. “I’m going to have the opportunity to get in and train with the boys, but for sure it’s just straight down to business when we head to Vegas.”

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From June 24 to July 16, when players based in Europe are on vacation and will subsequently begin reporting to clubs for preseason training, a group made up primarily of Major League Soccer players is scheduled for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

For the next three years, the United States, Mexico, and Canada will mostly compete in friendlies in preparation for hosting the first 48-team men’s World Cup in 2026.

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