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USMNT May 16, 2023

REPORT: Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun switching allegiance to USMNT from England

By Sean Maslin
SoccerWire Staff Writer

After months of speculation, striker Folarin Balogun is utilizing his one-time switch with FIFA to represent the United States at the international level. In a report broken by The Athletic ‘s Tom Bogert, the Arsenal striker will announce later today that he is opting to play for the USMNT, and no longer representing England. In the report, it was confirmed by FIFA that the request has been made and approved.

Balogun has scored 19 goals this season while currently on loan with Reims in France’s Ligue 1. His loan spell with the French side will finish at the end of the season where he is expected to be a major target for some of the top European clubs this summer. He has made two appearances for Arsenal at the senior level.

Tuesday’s announcement marks the end of a protracted battle between the U.S., where Balogun was born, and England, where he grew up. Balgoun has represented both countries throughout his career, playing with the U.S. at the U18 level and England at the U17, U18, and U20 levels. He has featured for England at the 2018 UEFA European U18 Championship and qualifiers for the 2023 UEFA European U20 Championship.

Due to his participation in officially recognized FIFA events, Balogun needed to file a one-time switch to officially represent the United States in international competitions.

The addition of Balogun provides the U.S. with one of the top young strikers in world soccer, a player that can immediately slide in to a starting position and make an immediate impact. During the 2018 World Cup and the preceding qualification, the U.S. struggled to find consistency with the position working in multiple players with minimal success.

Balogun will be immediately available for international call-ups, starting with the CONCACAF Nations League Semifinals. The U.S. will play Mexico on June 15th in Las Vegas, Nevada. Should they defeat their longtime rivals, the finals will take place on June 18th. In addition, the United States will be competing in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which starts June 24th.

(Pictured Above: Balogun [left] previously played in the U.S. Youth Men’s National Team program before his most recent action with England’s U20 and U21 teams.)