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Soumare wants to be more than just a USA fan

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                                                                   Photo by ISIphotos.com

When the U.S. national team takes on Trinidad & Tobago at Toyota Park tonight, there will be at least one Chicago-based USA fan with a little more interest in the match than most.

That fan is Bakary Soumare.

The Chicago Fire defender and native of Mali is enjoying a dream season in just his second year as a pro and his goal is to eventually be on the field for the U.S. national team rather than just in the stands.

"Right now I’m a Malian citizen but I’m hoping to get my (U.S.) citizenship," Soumare told SBI last weekend. "As soon as I get my citizenship, if I get called by the U.S., it’s a no-brainer. That’s the route I’m going. I just have to wait and get my papers done."

Soumare, who moved from Mali to Paris, France before settling in New York City, is having an MLS Best XI-caliber season and believes he is a year away from receiving his citizenship. Once he does, the 22-year-old plans on working his way into the U.S. national team mix.

"It’s one of my goals," Soumare said of playing for the U.S. national team. "I’d be more than proud to represent the United States because I went to high school here and went to college here. It’s not like I just came here a year ago and am trying to play for the national team.

"I’m as much American as I am Malian."

As for whether he would root for the U.S. national team on Wednesday night. Soumare didn’t hesitate to say yes.

"I live here, my adopted family is from this country and I went to school in this country," Soumare said. "I owe a lot to this country."

What do you think of Soumare’s chances of making the U.S. national team player? Could you see him challenging for a place in the back-line or in a defensive midfield role? Could he be a member of the 2010 World Cup team?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Baky you the best… There’s no way bradley won’t call baky to the us national team , bradley knows this guy since his days in ny metros youth program where he couch his big head son who now is a us national team player baky and I played for the ny red storm arrows and we beat bradleys team at the national y leage final in 2002 and many times after that . Bakary deserves the call his a charismatic,strong guy who’s heart is as big as the whole us team,Bradley can’t wait on this beacause by the 2010 world cup I’m pretty sure baky is not going to be playin for an mls team any more , so he better get the call soon before he goes to europe where he my end up in england or france where he live before coming to the us and there goes rossi a mean baky …. Dude I’m very proude of you we all are even thogh we knew of your potential we are, peace good luck

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  2. Baky you the best… There’s no way bradley won’t call baky to the us national team , bradley knows this guy since his days in ny metros youth program where he couch his big head son who now is a us national team player baky and I played for the red storm arrows and we beat bradleys team at the national y leage in 2002 and many times after that . Bakary deserves the call his a charismatic guy who’s heart is as big as the whole us team also by the 2010 world cup I’m pretty sure his not going to be playin for an mls team any more , so he better get the call soon before he goes to europe where he my end up in frace where he live before coming to the us and there goes rossi a mean baky …. Dude I’m very proude of you we all are even thogh we knew of your potetial we are peace good luck

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  3. I’m with Ginto. I think Soumare has improved a lot, since he came into the league; however, he has a lot of room for improvement as well. He’s no where near the level of Gooch/Bocanegra at this point. In a few years, Baky might be at that level. All Fire fans will be waiting to see what happens. I have to say this though and that’s off the field he’s on point with his girlfriend. This has nothing to do with the article but if anyone is curious, Baky’s girlfriend is BEAUTIFUL!

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  4. I love seeing athletes like this too who come from another country and want to play for the U.S. I’d be proud to have Baky reprent our country. With a smoking hot American girlfriend, maybe his citizenship will be faster than we think!

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  5. This is really cool. I love seeing people like this. He is someone who comes from another country yet he is so grateful and loves our country so much he would be proud to represent our country. Now this is the American Dream.

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  6. This is a GREAT news… I have been to a few fire games this season and he was great. More importantly, the kid is extremely friendly, first-class act. He is the kind of player that we want in our national team.

    PS: He has a Smoking Hot American girlfriend as well.

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  7. Bakary is a good player. I’ve seen just about every Fire match this season on TV and most of the home matches live. I can tell you he’s improved tremendously since he came into the league but he still can be rash in his decision making regarding tackling and going to ground…particularly in the box. He’s been fortunate not to have given up a few pk’s this year. By all accounts he really is a tremendous person, too. Luis Arroyave did a great piece in the Chicago Trib on him and he’s just a quality guy.

    I agree with Ives… he’s nowhere near the level of Gooch/Bocanegra at this stage. 2010? Perhaps.

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  8. Soumare would provide great depth. Plus after meeting him a couple times (including generously doing an interview for my friend’s podcast that he’s trying to get off the ground)….he definitely has solid character…

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  9. Baky has come a long, long way since last season. Most of ’07 he played defensive mid, but it’s obvious from his play this year in the center of the back line that it’s a better position for him. He’s very athletic and aggressive, but he’s also a smart tackler who doesn’t give away a lot of needless fouls.

    Now, his distribution leaves something to be desired in my opinion, which is one of the reasons why he didn’t flourish in midfield. When he gains possession he likes to whack the stuffing out of the ball up to the frontline. He needs to gain more confidence holding the ball and playing it out of the back. If he improves that part of his game he’ll be great. His improvement has been remarkable so far, so I’m optimistic he’ll keep it up.

    Baky, i ni ce, i ni baaraji! Ala ka nyetaa d’i ma! Ala k’i deme ka ke amerikika!

    (That’s just a little Malian greeting and thank you for Baky).

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  10. This was great to hear about. Not only is Soumare a great talent in the making but he’s also a great guy. Many Fire fans (including myself) have met him and he’s great to the fans. He will only get better. I wish him luck in his quest for citizenship and a spot on the national side. He’ll make it. I have no doubts.

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  11. Sushant Rao: Subotic was all about playing for the US, but Rongen really upset him by trashing him in public. Which I can see him his point, he was just what a 16-17 kid back then and he reads quotes about his coach saying he’s not good?

    As for Soumare, we are pretty set for defensive midfield for the next 10 years (Bradley, Edu, Clark) so I think he’s going to have to play a different position for the National Team. Maybe like someone said, he can learn left back? That is our glaring weakness.

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  12. Once he goes overseas and gets some seasoning he will be a ragular.

    Has the same strengths..and weaknesses as Gooch. Subotic and Soumare in the middle for 2014?

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  13. Nothing is more important in this story than his desire to play for the USA. IF he is good enough (he is), let him play as soon as he gets citizenship.

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  14. I’m very excited about the prospect of Bakary fitting into the USMNT picture in the future. I have enjoyed his play and feel safe with him in the back @ Chicago.

    Hey, I was just trying to raise the level of discussion. Bashing people’s perceived English skills, and calling names exhibits a lack of savoir faire that we Americans should strive for.

    Brett, you said it best.

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  15. It’s great to hear as a US fan, but I wonder if all of you will sing the praises of Neven Subotic if/when he chooses Germany because he feels like more of a German than American.

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  16. That’s a great story and I hope Soumare reaches his goals.

    Funny enough, that sounds exactly like Leandro, Vuoso and Zinha yet some ignorant people still manage to question their motives.

    btw J, his name is Jesus Padilla, at least learn his name if you’re gonna rag on him.

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