Christian Pulisic on Folarin Balogun: “From our side, we’d love to have him.” (USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

There is nothing like doing some important international recruiting in person.

There is little doubt that U.S. men’s national team is doing its best job to convince Folarin Balogun to play for the side.

The Arsenal prospect just happened to be in Orlando, Fla. this week as U.S. Soccer has had discussion with the young striker. Balogun, who played for several England youth national teams, is the son of Nigerian parents and who was born in New York.

Balogun is on loan with Reims in French Ligue 1 and has scored 17 goals in 27 appearances this season. He tied for third in scoring behind Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Lille’s Jonathan David, who have 19 goals each. Wissam Ben Yedder of Monaco and Alexandre Lacazette also have scored 17 times.

U.S. interim head coach Anthony Hudson confirmed that Balogun was in Orlando.

“He’s out here having a little bit of a break, and some training, and we’ve had some discussions,” Hudson said in a Zoom press conference on Thursday night, a day before the USMNT took on Grenada in a Concacaf Nations League match. “Now it’s about him just enjoying the rest of his trip. I think it’s good because it’s been an opportunity for us just to share about our program and who we are, and what we do. And again, hope we get the chance to speak with him again. It’s been good to me, and I know a few of the guys have spoken to him as well.”

USA forward Christian Pulisic, who will captain the squad at Grenada, also confirmed Balogun’s presence.

“I haven’t really spoken to him personally,” he said. “I know some of the guys that know him from previous teams or whatever have reached out to him and spoken to him. From our side, we’d love to have him.”

Balogun attended the New York Knicks game in Orlando on Thursday night, according to social media reports.