Nigerian-born British/American footballer, Folarin Balogun has officially switched his allegiance to the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) months after he reportedly said he was open to representing Nigeria.
The world football governing body, FIFA, confirmed on Tuesday, May 16, that the football body has approved Balogun’s application to switch his international allegiance to the USA.
Folarin Balogun, who is a 21-year-old forward, was born in the United States to Nigerian parents before he moved to England where he was raised from a child to adulthood.
Hence, he was eligible to play for Nigeria due to his parents’ ancestry, was eligible to play for the USMNT courtesy of his citizenship by birth rights, and was eligible to play for England due to how long he has been in the country.
Balogun has played for virtually all of England’s youth teams including the Under-21 team but wanted to feature for the star-studded Three Lions of England.
The 21-year-old forward who is currently on loan at French Ligue 1 club Lens from his childhood club, Arsenal, was supposed to be a part of England’s Under-21 squad who are currently preparing for the upcoming European Championship. He however withdrew himself from the squad due to an injury.
Since he has officially switched his allegiance to the USA and FIFA has approved his application, he would no longer participate in the Championship and no longer eligible to play for Nigeria.
After FIFA confirmed that his change of allegiance application has been approved, Folarin Balogun who has scored 19 goals in 34 Ligue 1 games this season said the decision was a “no-brainer”.
He added: “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?’
“To represent the United States means a lot, more than people would know. I’m very proud and honored to have this opportunity, and I want to give everything I have to make our team successful.”
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