'What took you so long?' - USMNT newcomer Folarin Balogun on why decision was a 'no-brainer', his family's reaction and how Instagram commenters aided decision
In the end, the decision wasn't much of a decision at all. Despite the circus that has gone on for the last few months, Folarin Balogun knew, deep down, what he wanted. The choice to represent the U.S. men's national team was made official on Tuesday and, in Balogun's own words, it was always a "no-brainer".
FIFA and U.S. Soccer confirmed that Balogun has committed to the USMNT and is eligible to make his debut for the team as soon as next summer. With that commitment, the recruiting battle has come to an end, with the U.S. ultimately having their hand raised over England and Nigeria.
The decision to commit to a national team is a deeply personal one. Balogun, who was born in New York to Nigerian parents and raised in England, opted for the country of his birth, and the country that gave him the most clear path to success. Balogun immediately becomes the USMNT's starting striker on the road to the 2026 World Cup on home soil, another selling point for the young star.
Many in American soccer worked to convince him, from interim coach Anthony Hudson to former teammate Yunus Musah. But perhaps the biggest influence of all was the American soccer public, which made sure Balogun received a warmer welcome than he ever could have imagined.
The USMNT striker opened up on his decision in an interview with U.S. Soccer, detailing his family's reaction, his own feelings and why he never could have prepared for the chaos of American Soccer Instagram.
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