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Bakary Soumare sold to French club Boulogne

Bakary Soumare 1 ( 

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MLS All-Star defender Bakary Soumare is on his way to Europe and has played his last game for the Chicago Fire.

Soumare has been sold to French club Boulogne for an undisclosed fee, sources told SBI on Monday. The move comes in Soumare's third season with the Fire. Sources tell SBI that the fee being discussed last week for Soumare was $2 million. (UPDATE- L'Equipe is reporting that Soumare was sold for 1.5 million euros, or approximately $2.14 million).

(UPDATE- According to a league source, the transfer is in the works but has not been completed. Yes, league sources also denied that there was any offer for Soumare when we first mentioned this in June. You might recall our response to that denial.)

The deal comes just two weeks after a locker-room scuffle between Soumare and Fire head coach Denis Hamlett at halftime of the Fire's 3-2 loss to the Houston Dynamo, one that resulted in Soumare being dropped from the squad. Boulogne had already made inquiries about Soumare to MLS before the incident, but sources tell SBI the fight made Soumare declare that he would not play for the Fire again, something Chicago accommodated.

Soumare began turning heads in France after he began playing for the Malian national team. The 23-year-old former University of Virginia star holds a French passport and is expected to step in and compete for a starting job for Boulogne, currently in seventh place in Ligue 1. The newly-promoted club is off to a surprising start, posting two wins in its first three matches.

For those of you wondering, Boulogne doesn't face Sochaux until Dec. 19th so you will have to wait a while for the first Soumare-Davies match-up as pros.

What's the SBI take on this deal? $2.1 million doesn't seem like much for a young and promising defender with a European passport, but at the same time the Fire need to start looking at the off-season and how it will replace the handful of talented players the team is set to lose this winter. Trading Soumare within MLS would have been next to impossible and keeping him on the bench through the remainder of the season would only have meant less of a chance of seeing a quality offer for Soumare this winter (MLS had two more option years on Soumare's initial MLS contract). Now, the Fire will have about $1.5 million to use on new players for next season.

What do you think of this development? Sad to see Soumare leave? Think the Fire got a good deal for Soumare if the fee is $2 million? Can you see the Fire winning an MLS Cup without its MLS Best XI central defender?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. this is an untimely event. the fire is in big trouble right now. their origional back 4 are all out of the line up. due to injury, transfer ect. The are forced to bring on 2nd string, unexperienced defenders. Hopefully they will learn enough by the time the playoffs come. The fire were sure to make it to the mls championship a month ago. but after mcbride’s surgery. all the injuries and noe soumare gone. the future remains a mystery. *not to mntion blanco will be leaving next year.

  2. The Fire/MLS should have sent him to a USl team to finish out the season. This sets a bad precedent for the league. I predict Soumre never plays a real game for Mali or even Boulogn. This is one hyper egotistical rat. I am not sure he knows the ball is round. I refuse to believe he actually grew up playing soccer. he has the soccer coordination of someone who started as a teenager.

  3. Soumare grew up in New York not France. Although he was birthed in Africa. His connections to France is essentially zero. He received a French passport through litigation not birth-right.

    (SBI-Are you even familiar with his story? For someone who apparently only started commenting in order to bash Soumare, you should at least know his story.)

  4. This is all a scam. Reminds me of the sanneh MLS fiasco: he has played 5-10 games since 2003 and has made millions. Isnt Sanneh from gambia? Bukry Somre cant pass the safely 20 meters. I have yet to see him make one (one!!) decent pass in two frickin’ years. He is a zero on set plays because he has no timing. This guy couldnt play for most club teams in chicago 20 years ago. Schwaben, Kickers, Green white would have thrown him in the Lake.

  5. Soumare is a punk who will never break into a starting 11 in any major league. He has some of the worst technical skills and his brain seems to be ticking at a slower beat then everyone else when he has the ball. He is a more physically gifted version of Jay Heaps.

  6. @firefan06

    Soumare was fined as he should have been. What is inexcusable to me is Hamlett continuing to act like Soumare was all to blame.

  7. Hope France likes seeing long balls from the back straight to the other team’s defenders.

    Soumare has potential, but as others have stated his play this season has been a huge step down from last year.

    P.S. @guillermo – if you’re going to use a public fine as a measure of guilt, you should also mention that Soumare was publicly fined too.

  8. Chelski, FYI, Mali boasts a squad of players like Freddie Kanoute who plays for Sevilla in Spain, nearly led La Liga in scoring two years ago; Seydou Keita who played a role on Barcelona’s historic run last year; Mamadou Diarria, who has captained Real Madrid on numerous occasions; Mohammed Sissoko, who used to start for Liverpool and know plays for Juventus, along with numerous other players who play in Europe. Guess you know Mali has a team now….

    (kinda wish the US could have a team with that much talent)

  9. PLays for Mali? Who knew they even had a team? He goes to basically a second division team in france because of his legal qualifications (French passport which is also a scam). How did he get a French passport? He isnt French. This guy is a hustler plain and simple. This guy is no better than your average college defender. he cant pass the ball 20 meters consistently and safely. he is so clumsy and nearly trips over himself with every bouncing ball. Make no mistake, he will ride the bench. if this makes it in pro soccer, it is a very bad sign for soccer lovers.

    (SBI-Soumare grew up living in France.)

  10. All the talent in the windy city and its like Sam the Billy Goat but a curse on Toyota Park too.

    There is too much to say about this, I’ll miss Baky, I liked his play. The Fire are finished this season. Ham can go and should go too. I wish Nowak could coach the Fire. Klopas had all the pieces in place, and now…. no way Chicago comes back. Blanco and Rolfe and Pappa and Sega are not enough. I do hate to say that, but I concede this season now.

  11. Maybe the Fire could use some of that money to bring Nowak back to Chicago and then we can ship the Ham to Philly. I’m conflicted about this. I hate to see Baky go, but don’t want a player here that doesn’t want to be here.

  12. (SBI-MLS rules changed regarding transfer fee sharing a while ago. The Fire will see much more than just $500K.)


    I didn’t know this … although from what i understand the most you can spend on players from that money is = 500k or so.

    Him leaving is good for the league. If MLS can get decent “feeder” status it will open up all kinds of player movements.

  13. Conde isn’t going anywhere. I don’t know where all of you get your information from (certainly not SBI). Conde and Blanco had an ongoing feud that was settled and now Conde is content in Chicago especially with Blanco leaving next year. Also, Conde took DH’s side on the locker room brawl that including only one push to the head of Hamlett not a fist fight as some of you are implying.
    If you want to start ignorant rumors go to the MLS Rumors site so you can read that Henry and Del Piero are going to the Minnesota Thunder and Cleveland City Stars every week.

  14. I would rather Hamlett leave but hey…

    Soumare has been having a bit rougher a go this year. Still a very promising young talent and it is sad to see him leave.

    @Graeme: That is classic battered wife syndrome. I support the Fire in terms of it as an entity I don’t HAVE to support who is currently in charge of running said entity there is a big difference.

    @dolan: that is the big difference. I am a Cubs fan and will always support them but it doesn’t mean I’m happy to see them lose and don’t always support who is running the team. (nor do most Cubs fans which is something you obviously aren’t aware of)


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