United States
USMNT-eligible striker Folarin Balogun leads Ligue 1 in scoring
United States

USMNT-eligible striker Folarin Balogun leads Ligue 1 in scoring

Updated Feb. 1, 2023 7:50 p.m. ET

The answer to the United States men's national team's striker problem might be playing in northern France.

Folarin Balogun, a 21-year-old striker who was born in New York, scored a hat trick in Reims' 4-2 win over Lorient on Wednesday and now leads the French Ligue 1 in goals with 14. France superstar Kylian Mbappé is second with 13 goals.

Balogun has represented England at the youth level — most recently with the U21 team — but he's never been called up by the Three Lions' senior team. That means the U.S. Soccer Federation still has an opportunity to recruit him like they did with his former Arsenal teammate Yunus Musah.

Like Balogun, Musah played for England in his youth, but he used his one-time switch through FIFA in 2021 to represent the United States, where he was born, at the senior level. Since then, the 20-year-old has made 23 appearances for the USMNT, including every game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.


It's possible that England will make a bigger effort with Balogun than they did with Musah, especially since Balogun has shown more at the club level than Musah did as a teenager, but given the level of talent within England's senior attack, Balogun might see the striker-starved USMNT as a better fit for his international future.

The United States and England will both have games during the March international window. It will be interesting to see if Balogun gets his long-awaited call-up from either team during that time. A player becomes cap-tied after two senior international appearances with a country.

Can Folarin Balogun be USMNT's missing piece?

Alexi Lalas and David Mosse debate whether Balogun is the missing piece in the United States' attack for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

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