Folarin Balogun Snubs Nigeria, England, As He Switches Allegiance From England To The USA.

Folarin Balogun, has made the decision to represent the United States of America at the international senior level.

The Arsenal rising star Balogun who is in loan to French club Reims, has snubbed Nigeria and the Three Lions of England as he switches allegiances from England to USA senior national team which has been approved by FIFA.

FIFA rules allow players to change national eligibility before playing in a competitive game at senior level.

FIFA said on Tuesday it approved a request by the U.S. Soccer Federation to change Balogun's national eligibility from England. The 21-year-old New York-born player also was eligible for Nigeria.

A Fifa spokesperson told BBC Sport: "The change of association of the player Folarin Jolaoluwa Balogun from England to the USA has been approved."

He has previously said he would be open to playing for the Super Eagles of Nigeria but has decided to become available for the United States, a choice he was eligible to make having not won a senior England cap.

Balogun was born in the USA to Nigerian parents, but they moved to London, England when he was two years old. Because of this, he was eligible to play for any of the three countries.

He played for England and the U.S. at youth level before establishing himself with England's U21s, but withdrew from the squad in March because of injury.

There has been a lot of talk about the country he would represent on the international level. 

He reportedly held talks with U.S. Soccer in March as he visited Orlando, Florida during the March international break.

Balogun later revealed that he felt the love from supporters during that visit.

"I think that's when I really saw the full force of the U.S. fans," Balogun said. "I was there and I just posted a photo with my friends thinking that it was just a holiday picture. Before I knew it, I just saw loads of comments and people knew I was in America, and I just really felt the love from there. There's been a lot of build-up, so I've obviously seen people saying that I should choose to represent the U.S., and it's just something I'm really happy that I've decided to do."

His decision to represent the U.S. comes five weeks before England plays in the U-21 European Championship hosted by Romania and Georgia. The English Football Association (FA) also had to consent to the change of eligibility.

The Arsenal academy product Balogun has had a superb season at Reims. He left Gunners for the club last summer on a season-long loan, and he has impressed massively.

He has scored 19 goals in 34 games in the Ligue 1 this season, turning lots of attentions in Europe.

Balogun confirmed the move in a video on his social media accounts using the slogans "I'm coming home" and "Let's make history."

It was the first ever post on his Instagram account, which already had 265,000 followers.

Speaking to US Soccer's official website, Balogun said the decision was a "no-brainer" and he feels at "home".

"When I broke the news to my family they were all just over the moon, especially my mom. She said, 'What took you so long?'... Says Balogun.

"To represent the United States means a lot, more than people would know. I'm very proud and honoured to have this opportunity, and I want to give everything I have to make our team successful.

"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."

 USMNT fans won't have to wait long to see Balogun in a U.S. jersey. He could make his debut against Mexico in CONCACAF Nations League semifinal in Las Vegas on June 15. Then a meeting with either Canada or Panama will come three days later, whether in a third-place match or in the final itself.

After that, the U.S. will shift focus to the Gold Cup which it hosts from June 24 with a match against Jamaica at Solider Field to July 16.

Interim USMNT head coach Anthony Hudson said in a statement: “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 both on and off the field at a time when the team is continuing to improve. It’s clear that he values his U.S. roots and we can’t wait for him to come in and be a part of the team.”

The co-host for the 2026 World Cup, will begin their path toward the tournament on home soil. It will include friendlies and, most notably, a Copa America in 2024 that will serve as a good preparation against meeting some of the world's elite.

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