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.