[MLS TRANSACTIONS] Bakary Soumare, who was born in Mali, grew up in France and attended the University of Virginia, is back in MLS after three seasons in Europe with French club Boulogne and on loan at German club Karlsruhe. The 2008 MLS Best XI selection was signed by the Philadelphia Union after a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps gave the Union the top sot in the allocation rankings.
As a player who left MLS for a transfer fee -- Soumare moved to Boulogne from the Chicago Fire for a $2.1 million transfer fee, which at the time was a MLS record for a defender -- he had to go through the allocation process.
The Caps gave the Union the top spot in the MLS allocation ranking and their second-round pick in the 2013 SuperDraft in exchange for the Union's first-round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft, its 12th position in the allocation ranking and allocation money.
The move to get Soumare, still only 26, was a no-brainer.
Philadelphia is expected to slot him in the middle of the backline to replace Danny Califf, one of many players unloaded by then-Coach Peter Nowak.
And Soumare played alongside Union sporting director Diego Gutierrez with the Fire.
“It’s been going on for a long, long time -- far longer than you think," Soumare said of talks to return to MLS. "I’m glad it’s finally over with, and I’m excited to start playing with this team.”
Soumare, who finished high school in the New York area and spent two seasons at Virginia, became available after Boulogne plunged from Ligue 1 to Ligue 2 and now the third-level National league.
He was a Best XI selection and MLS Defender of the Year finalist in 2008, his second MLS season.