Arsenal star, Folarin Balogun has reacted after joining the USA national team following a snub by England
Balogun, 21, was born in Brooklyn, USA but was raised in London, England where he groomed his budding football career, but is of Nigeria descent.
He started out his trial at Aldersbrook before he joined Arsenal Academy in 2008. After twelve years with Arsenal youth team, Folarun Balogun joined Arsenal first team in 2020 but struggled to break into the team’s starting lineup.
He made just two apearances for the Gunners before being loaned to Middlesbrough in 2022 where he began to breath life into his nascent career.
He made 18 appearances for the Championship side, scoring 3 goals. After few months at Middlesbrough, Folarun Balogun was again loaned to French Ligue 1 club, Stade de Reims in 2022.
At Stade de Reims, the 21-year-old has been a sensation in Reims’ attack and has recorded immense progress in his career.
He is sixth on the list of French Ligue top scorers this season with 19 goals in 34 appearances for Reims.
Despite the recent gains in his career, Balogun was not called up by Gareth Southgate.
Meanwhile, he had played for England national team at the youth level with a standout performances for the Young Lions.
Folarin Balogun was a promising youngster from the onset of his career. He played for England U-17, U-18, U-20, and U-21. At the U-21 levels, he scored 7 goals for the team in his 13 appearances.
Sources close to the Arsenal youngster disclosed he was increasingly frustrated with the inability to break into England national team.
In Gareth Southgate’s 2022 UEFA Nations League rooster, Falorun Balogun was snubbed with Southgate going for Ivan Toney.
After missing call-up, Folarin Balogun took to his Instagram story to drop a criptic post, blasting Southgate’s decision to snub him after his gains with England youth team and Reims. The post reads, ‘in life, go where you are appreciated.’
When prompted with the Folarin Balogun question in the Three Lions squad in March, Gareth Southgate said, ”It is up to the player to weigh up where his heart feels. Is he prepared to wait a little bit for an opportunity if he backs himself and feels he can push his way into our squad?”
Amidst the England national team deadlock, discussion were underway between Balogun and USA national team for him to represent the country.
Apart from England, Folarin Balogun was eligible to play for USA where he was born and Nigeria.
In March, he was at Orlando in Florida where USA national team held their base camp ahead of CONCACAF Qualifiers.
From the foregoing, it was evident, the young forward will choose to pit his tent with USA national team which he has accomplished.
FIFA have approved Balogun’s application for a one-time switch waiver to play for United States Men National Team (USMNT)
He will now be flying the stars and stripes flag in the 2026 World Cup which will be hosted by the country.
Folarin Balogun reacts after USMNT switch
Stripped in the flag of USA, Folarun Balogun took to his Instagram handle and wrote, “so proud to be a part of this. It has been a long journey to reach this point but it is with great pride. I can now represent these colors at the highest level.”
Reacting to Balogun’s switch to USMNT, USMNT head coach, Anthony Hudson said;
”We are delighted that Folarin has chosen to represent the United States. Not only is he an extremely talented player, he’s also a good man who is going to add value to our National Team.”
The addition of Balogun to USA national team has been regarded as a huge plus to the team, who have lacked a potent frontline attacker after Clint Dempsey retired from international duty in 2018.
Balogun will be expected to fill the gap as the team prepare for 2026 World Cup.