USMNT fans woke up to huge recruiting news Tuesday morning as it was reported that Folarin Balogun had declared for the national team. The 21-year-old Reims striker had previously represented England at youth level and was eligible for Nigeria through family ties, but FIFA approved his one-time change of association to the US on Tuesday.
He’s a natural goalscorer
Folarin Balogun is a natural goalscorer who can create and finish chances. He is a versatile player who has the ability to play across different positions. He can fill in as a defensive midfielder, winger, or forward and can score with ease. He can also provide a good outlet for his team, especially when they are on the break. He has an excellent passing game and is capable of putting in crosses. He is also very fast and has the ability to get into attacking areas quickly.
This season, he has scored 17 Ligue 1 goals and only Jonathan David and Kylian Mbappe have more. He is a major part of Stade Reims’ success this year and has been one of the league’s most potent threats. This performance has led to speculation that he will represent the United States at the 2024 World Cup.
The USMNT is still looking for a goal scoring threat up front, and Balogun could be just the man to fill that gap. He is a natural goalscorer and has the talent to make an impact for the national team in the next few years.
After a solid qualifying campaign and a heartbreaking quarterfinal loss to the Netherlands, the United States men’s national team is looking for reinforcements at every position. A goal-scoring threat is the biggest need for Gregg Berhalter’s side. Not since the days of Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Jozy Altidore has the nation had a true go-to striker.
Folarin Balogun is a versatile player with the potential to play in many different positions for Arsenal and the United States. He has the speed, skill, and mentality to be a prolific goal-scorer. He is a natural leader and can take control of the midfield when necessary.
The 21-year-old multinational, who is eligible to represent England, Nigeria, and the United States, made a decision in favor of the USMNT on Tuesday after discussing it with his club and the USA Soccer leadership. He is expected to join the squad for the CONCACAF Nations League Final Four in June.
He’s a natural finisher
Folarin Balogun is a natural goalscorer who is on the rise at Arsenal. Born in New York City, he came through the Gunners academy before joining the club’s first team as an under-23. He made his debut in October 2020, coming off the bench to score against Dundalk in a Europa League match. He then scored against Molde the next month.
He is currently on loan at Ligue 1 side Reims, where he’s been scoring regularly. The striker is a multi-national who holds dual citizenship for England and the United States, but has chosen to represent the latter at senior level. This means he will be eligible to play for the USA at this year’s Concacaf Nations League final four tournament in Las Vegas.
Reims are a direct attacking side, and their counter-attacking moves often involve long passes into the central areas where Balogun thrives. In fact, most of their successful counter-attacks, including those that lead to shots, feature the longest and most direct pass in the move.
Those long passes are usually out-balls from the midfield, which gives him the opportunity to run behind the defence and turn them into shots and goals. This is a clear indication of his natural finishing ability.
Balogun’s goal tally also speaks to his facility for scoring one-on-one with defenders. This is a rare skill that few young forwards possess, and it’s a trait that has been all too rare for the U.S. national team.
In addition to his success at Arsenal, the striker is also gaining recognition for his performances on the international stage. He has played for both the England U-21 and United States national teams, and he has a chance to join the Nigeria national team this summer.
While it may be tempting for Balogun to leave Arsenal this summer, he is likely to remain at the club for some time. The club has reopened contract talks with the 19-year-old, and manager Mikel Arteta is optimistic that the player will sign a new deal this summer. This will give him more chances to play in the Premier League.
He’s a natural attacker
Folarin Balogun is a natural striker who’s been able to thrive at a number of levels in Europe. The teenager is on loan at Ligue 1 side Reims and has been impressive this season, scoring nine goals in just 28 league appearances. He has also been a standout performer for Arsenal’s U23 squad, scoring ten times in 15 matches this season.
A natural-born finisher, Balogun has been a prolific scorer throughout his time in the Gunners academy. The American-born forward scored 25 goals in his first season with the under-18s and transferred that form to the senior team last year, netting twice in five Europa League appearances. In the end, he was unable to secure a starting spot at the club but his performances were encouraging enough that Mikel Arteta has promised him that he will keep faith in him and give him opportunities.
The 21-year-old is eligible to play for England, Nigeria, and the United States, but he has chosen to represent the USMNT at international competition. The move will allow him to join the national team in Las Vegas for the Concacaf Nations League Final Four. He will be expected to add another scoring dimension to the team’s attack.
In addition to his club responsibilities, Balogun is an eager and promising prospect on the international scene. He was courted by US Soccer during his Florida vacation this past spring and has made a good impression in training with the U23s, whose coach, Mikel Arteta, describes him as “a player [he] wants to keep at the club” with talent and ambition.
But losing him would be a blow for Arsenal, especially at this stage of his career. He has a year left on his contract and has been the standout performer for the club’s under-23s this season, proving himself to be a quality striker. If the club does decide to sell, they will likely try to impose sell-on clauses in any deal to maximise their return.
He’s a natural passer
Folarin Jerry Balogun is a natural passer who enjoys running in behind the defence. This allows him to create opportunities for himself and his teammates and also gives him the option of shooting on sight when the defenders are out of position. He also knows when to move into the box or drop deep to create opportunities for himself. He is a quick and intelligent runner and his pace helps him win footraces against defenders.
He has a good eye for the pass, and is very accurate with his finishing. He has a very low error rate and rarely misplaces passes, making it easy for him to find open space in the final third of the pitch. This makes him a very dangerous player for defenders to face.
After making his debut for the Arsenal youth team in 2021, Balogun went on loan to Ligue 1 side Reims for the season. He adapted quickly to the French league and scored on his debut against Marseille.
Since then, he has played 34 matches for Reims and scored 19 goals. He has been in fantastic form, and his goal against Lyon in the UEFA Europa League was a particularly impressive performance.
Balogun has a unique set of skills, and it would be interesting to see him play for a high-possession team. However, some of his shortcomings – like his heavy first touch – might make it difficult for him to adapt to this style.
In addition to his passing ability, Balogun is a great dribbler and can work the ball out of tight situations using feints and fake shots. He is also a very effective finisher, and his non-penalty expected goals per 90 minutes are the highest in Ligue 1.
During March’s international break, Balogun visited Orlando and met with U.S. Soccer officials. He is now eligible to represent the United States at senior level, and he has made it clear that he plans on playing for them in the future. He will join the USA squad for the CONCACAF Nations League semifinal in June and could make his debut against Mexico.