Union finalize deal for ex-MLS Best XI defender Soumare

Bakary Soumare - May 28, 2009 (Chicago Fire)

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Bakary Soumare is headed to back to Major League Soccer, and he’s about to get a little brotherly love from his new team.

The Philadelphia Union announced on Tuesday that they have signed the former MLS Best XI selection via the allocation process, trading a first-round pick in the 2013 SuperDraft and allocation money to the Vancouver Whitecaps in order to land the rights to the former Chicago Fire star.

Soumare, 26, was a finalist for the Defender of the Year award in 2008 with Chicago and was a defensive mainstay for the club from 2007-09 before trying his hand at a career in Europe. He was transferred to French side Bolougne in August 2009 and appeared in 65 games for the club. He occasionally served as captain before he was loaned in January 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.

The Union swapped former captain and starting central defender Danny Califf to Chivas USA last month and have leaned heavily on Carlos Valdés to anchor the back line. They most recently converted young midfielder Amobi Okugo into a center back and he performed well alongside Valdés in a 4-0 win over Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.

Current Union sporting director Diego Gutiérrez was a teammate with Soumare in Chicago in 2007-08 and later served as his agent during the transfer process to Bolougne.