Folarin Balogun’s switch from England to the United States has been approved by FIFA.
The 21-year-old forward, who played for the U.S. at under-18 level before switching his allegiance to England, can represent either country as he was born in Brooklyn, New York but moved to London when he was two years old. He is also eligible to represent Nigeria.
FIFA rules enable players to switch national eligibility before making a competitive senior appearance at international level.
Balogun has spent the 2022-23 campaign on loan at Reims from Arsenal, scoring 19 times in 34 league appearances.
He was called up to England’s Under-21 squad for March’s fixtures against France and Germany but withdrew due to a hamstring injury.
Balogun travelled to Orlando, where the U.S. were training, during the international window. U.S. interim coach Anthony Hudson admitted “discussions” had taken place with the forward during March’s international break, adding that it was “an opportunity to share about our program”.
Folarin Balogun’s Orlando trip of intrigue: A full timeline
Speaking after announcing his squad for March’s international fixtures, England manager Gareth Southgate said Balogun would have to be patient regarding a call up to the senior side.
“It is up to the player to weigh up where his heart feels,” Southgate said. “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? Because anybody who has followed us will know that we will give young players a chance.
“So, we cannot go and give first-team call-ups to someone just because we don’t want them to go somewhere else.”
Balogun made four appearances for the U.S. Under-18s in 2018, before going on to represent England at various youth levels.
The U.S. are next in action on June 16 when they face Mexico in the CONCACAF Nations League. The CONCACAF Gold Cup, which is being hosted in the U.S., takes place between June 24 and July 16.
What Folarin Balogun’s breakout means for his international future
(Photo: Getty Images)