Rumors of Balogun to the USMNT began in the fall of 2021, now in the spring of 2023 those rumors came true.
On Tuesday, May 16, the USMNT fans came together to celebrate the commitment of Folarin Balogun representing the USA in international contests. The 21 year old is expected to join the United States Men's National Team in mid July. A long awaited arrival that fans, players, and coaches are looking forward to.
Balogun had to decide between committing to the USA, England or Nigeria. To be able to commit to a team, he had to get a one time change of association request approved by FIFA. He began to represent England at the U-17 level in 2018. Also in 2018, he joined the U.S. U-18 for a friendly tournament, playing four matches with them.
When deciding where he wanted to play, Balogun claimed playing for the U.S. was a “no brainer.” Him and his family were ecstatic with his decision and knew it was the correct one. He was born in the U.S., but very quickly after being born, he and his family packed up and moved back to London. If asked where he was from, he would reply London. But, he is aware that he has U.S. roots.
Just recently, before committing to the USMNT, he took a trip to the U.S. He visited Florida, trained on his own, and then attended a New York Yankee game and an Orlando Magic. While on this trip, he saw the passion of USMNT fans because he posted a picture of him training here, which helped him make his decision on where to play internationally.
He is expected to play in the Concacaf Nations League Final Four with the USMNT. Some are already expressing their excitement for his role in the 2026 World Cup, especially because the World Cup is being hosted in the USA. Balogun is excited that his first time with the team will be in a competitive tournament, saying that when he arrives in Vegas it will be straight to business.
Adding to that statement from Balogun, it was brought up that his first game might be against U.S.’s biggest rival, Mexico. Playing in big games like that game is what he, and any player, look forward to. He is ready to come in and make a difference, no matter who his first game is against.
Balogun most likely will join Christian Pulisic at forward, bringing another level of dominance up top. As a lethal finisher, he and Pulisic will work well together, especially when both of them are on the top of their game. Another trait of Balogun’s that makes him such a notable forward is his explosiveness and quickness. Since he is only 21 years old, he has not even reached his prime, meaning these traits are only going to get better with time.
COURTESY OF FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
Last season Balogun had a breakout season, competing with soccer star Kylian M’Bappe to be on top of the scoring for most of the season. Hence why the chatter around where he would end up started to heat up.
Anyone would be lucky to have Balogun join their team. The timing could not have been any better for him to join the USMNT as talks around the 2026 World Cup have begun.