Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun Officially Commits to Play for USMNT

Folarin Balogun with Stade de Reims in August 2022
Folarin Balogun with Stade de Reims in August 2022. Photo by Matthieu Mirville/DPPI/Shutterstock (13093167m)

Folarin Balogun, one of the most exciting attacking talents in soccer, has officially committed to playing for the United States men’s national team on the international level. The news was confirmed by U.S. Soccer Federation and the player himself.

Balogun is a member of Premier League side Arsenal but currently plays on loan with French club Stade Reims. He scored 19 goals and added three assists in 34 Ligue 1 matches so far in the 2022-23 season.

Balogun was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Nigerian parents but spent most of his life in England. He played for the U.S. at the U18 level before switching to England in 2018 and playing for several of the country’s youth levels.

Reportedly, both England and Nigeria made a push in recent months to convince Balogun to play for them at the senior level. However, the United States ended up making the most convincing pitch, and the player officially made a request to FIFA in order to switch his national allegiance.  

“My decision to represent the United States came together with my family,” said Balogun after the news was announced. “In the end, it became a no-brainer, but for sure, it’s just something I wanted to do, and it feels like I’m at home here. 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.”

Folarin Balogun is expected to make his debut on June 15 when USMNT faces Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League semifinal match.

Ben loves sports so much but prefers watching other people do it. He prefers not to share what teams he's supporting but he is willing to admit that Lebron James is, in fact, the king.