Chester, Pa. (June 26, 2012) – Philadelphia Union have signed former Major League Soccer Defender of the Year finalist Bakary Soumare, the club announced today. Originally drafted by the Chicago Fire with the second overall pick in the 2007 MLS SuperDraft, Soumare comes to the Union from French side US Boulogne. The center back will be eligible to play for the Union in Saturday’s game against the Houston Dynamo. Per MLS and Club policy, terms of the agreement will not be disclosed.
The Union made a trade with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, giving the Union the top spot in the MLS allocation ranking and Vancouver’s second round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. In exchange, the Union parted with their first-round selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, the club’s 12th position in the league’s allocation ranking, as well as allocation money. Per league and club policy, the amount of allocation money was not disclosed.
A 2008 MLS Defender of the Year finalist, Soumare excelled as a central defender for the Chicago Fire in 2008 and 2009 after originally being drafted out of the University of Virginia as a defensive midfielder. He played in 63 games for the Fire, earning the club’s Defender of the Year title in 2008, a spot in the MLS Best XI and helped the squad to the Western Conference Finals. In 2009, he was named to the MLS All-Star team, replacing Brian Ching.
In August of 2009, Soumare was transferred to French First Division side Boulogne. The 6-foot-4 native of Mali became a regular for Boulogne, appearing in 65 games and occasionally serving as captain. In January of 2012, he was loaned to German club Karlsruher SC, where he made seven appearances.
Soumare has been capped by Mali 13 times since deciding to play for his native country in 2008. He has played in a string of World Cup qualifying matches and the Africa Cup of Nations.
Name: Bakary Soumare
Pronunciation: Bak-a-ray Sue-mar-ay
Born: November 9, 1985
Birthplace: Bamako, Mali
Last Club: US Boulogne
WATCH: Soumare career highlights