The United State men’s national team survived the “Group of Death,” but when it came to the knockout round at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, they were out of their depth again.
The USMNT was out of its depth because it lacked a world-class goal scorer at Striker and the team’s offensive approach under manager Gregg Berhalter is largely why they fell short in the Round of 16. What the USMNT didn’t lack though, was talent and potential. And the performance of the team’s midfielders in Qatar proved just that. Unfortunately, they did lack a consistent goal scorer, and while players like Josh Sargent, Jesus Ferreira and Haji Wright are accomplished goal scorers for their respective clubs, they are just not that at the international level.
Well, the USMNT received absolutely massive news on Tuesday that could change the team’s fortunes up front.
FIFA announced on Tuesday that it approved a request by the U.S. Soccer Federation to change Folarin Balogun’s affiliation from England to the United States. The England under-21 forward is now immediately eligible to represent the country of his birth and he wasted no time in announcing his decision on Twitter.
LET’S MAKE HISTORY! pic.twitter.com/DIsf0tCYVY
— Balogun (@balogun) May 16, 2023
Balogun has opted to represent the United States at the international level. He was born to Nigerian parents in Brooklyn, New York, but spent his formative years being raised in England. Balogun played accepted call-ups from both the United States and England in the past but appeared as if he would likely be representing the country he was raised in at the international level. And while he was eligible to represent all three nations at the international level, he’s been granted a one-time switch to represent the USMNT.
This is an absolutely massive move for the USMNT and the sports world reacted to the news on social media:
The big next step for Balogun as a USMNT player is to sign for an MLS team.https://t.co/b7mATcPpiX
— Kevin Morris (@socceralt) May 16, 2023
oh yeah team usa is looking even better https://t.co/DcNOttMc6x
— 💎 (@TJayyyy_1) May 16, 2023
Tim Weah on Folarin Balogun's post: "🤝🏾 negotiations were a success"
— USMNT Only (@usmntonly) May 16, 2023
HONEY HES HOME 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 https://t.co/MQLvktxjpM
— USMNT burner (@burnerusmnt) May 16, 2023
— J Sikatov (@TripleFo) May 16, 2023
Folarin Balogun wasn’t benching Victor Osimhen or Harry Kane, so picking the USMNT was the smart choice.
Good on him. He’ll thrive with that squad too.
— TM. (@tsnmknd) May 16, 2023
🚨 THIS IS NOT A DRILL 🚨
Folarin Balogun has opted to represent the USMNT 🇺🇸🦅 pic.twitter.com/kdpGTRT1KH
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) May 16, 2023
The best thing that could’ve happened for the USMNT between now and 2026 has already happened, folks.
This is massive. https://t.co/46xIT6BLfl
— Joseph Lowery (@joeclowery) May 16, 2023
Folarin Balogun (21) has an elite combination of pace, technical ability, and natural finishing. 🔥
Stats in his first Ligue 1 szn so far
⚽️ 19 goals
🅰️ 2 assist
🔀 32 chances created
Huge get for the USMNT pic.twitter.com/J2xMVvUipZ
— Takes 🇺🇸 (@USMNTTAKES) May 16, 2023
— AO (@AmericanOutlaws) May 16, 2023
[Folarin Balogun on Twitter]