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Folarin Balogun opts to represent U.S. over England

Jan 28, 2023; Carson, California, USA; USMNT players Walker Zimmerman (3), Sean Johnson (1), DeJuan Jones (4), John Tokin (12), Aaron Long (15), Paul Arriola (7), Eryk Williamson (19), Jesus Ferreira (9), Kellyn Acosta (23), Matthew Hoppe (13) and Paxten Aaronson (6) line up before the game against Columbia  Dignity Health Sports Park. The teams played to a 0-0 tie. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Multi-national striker Folarin Balogun took to social media on Tuesday to confirm reports that he has committed to the U.S. men’s national team over England.

FIFA approved Balogun’s official request to switch his affiliation to the U.S. on Tuesday.

Balogun, 21, could represent the U.S. as soon as next month in either the CONCACAF Nations League or the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

He wrote “LET’S MAKE HISTORY!” on Twitter, with the post accompanied by the USMNT logo and a short video that included the phrase “Today is the day. A decision has been made.”

“My decision to represent the United States, it came together with my family,” Balogun said in a Q&A on U.S. Soccer’s website. “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, but for sure, it’s just something I wanted to do and it feels like I’m at home here.”

Balogun was born in Brooklyn to Nigerian parents before he emigrated to England. Balogun raised eyebrows recently upon training in Florida, the site of the USMNT’s Nations League training camp. He also was eligible to play for Nigeria.

“My parents were on holiday there for a few months because we have family in New York,” Balogun said in an interview with the Ligue 1 website earlier this season. “But very soon after I was born, we all moved back to London.”

“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.”

Balogun has collected 19 goals and three assists across 34 matches for French side Reims. He is expected to return to his Premier League parent club of Arsenal this summer.

–Field Level Media

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