Folarin Balogun Would Be a Game-Changer For U.S. Soccer

Stade de Reims v Stade Rennais - Ligue 1 Uber Eats
Stade de Reims v Stade Rennais - Ligue 1 Uber Eats / Sylvain Lefevre/GettyImages

The United States men's national team resumes CONCACAF Nations League play on Friday against Grenada, and the program is facing a number of serious questions. Despite reaching the knockout stage of the 2022 World Cup, the Americans have an unsettled program. There is no long-term manager in place, as Gregg Berhalter's contract expired at the end of 2022, and other questions about the future of the program persist. But the USMNT might be moving towards solving it's biggest on-field issue.

Interim manager Anthony Hudson has confirmed that the USMNT has been in discussions with striker Folarin Balogun about a switch in allegiance from England to the U.S. The 21-year-old Balogun is having a breakout campaign for Reims in Ligue 1, where he's on loan from Arsenal.

Balogun has bagged 17 goals, behind only Kylian Mbappe and Jonathan David in the French top-tier league. He's an absolute difference-maker for a U.S. program that has failed to find a solution at striker despite a wealth of talent in the midfield and on the wings. A reliable finisher has been absent for years.

Balogun was born in New York but grew up in London. He's represented England at multiple national team levels -- though he played for the U.S. U-18 team in 2018. Balogun, who is also eligible to play for Nigeria, was not called into England's full national team during this international window. That came despite excellent form. It seems to have upset him, if Instagram is to be believed.

The U.S. is currently training in Florida before its match in Grenada and Balogun just so happens to be there too. That's a great sign for the Americans. He would be an elite pickup and the team's biggest position of need.