Sporting Kansas City strengthened its backline today with a high-caliber addition to the roster, signing French center back Nicolas Isimat-Mirin. The 29-year-old has inked a two-year MLS contract through 2022 with an option for 2023 and will occupy an international slot on Sporting’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.
Isimat-Mirin’s arrival is a strong statement of intent for a Sporting side that was eager to bolster its defense following the offseason departures of Matt Besler and Winston Reid. As Isimat-Mirin prepares for his journey stateside, he will bring with him no shortage of professional pedigree. Here are 10 things you need to know about Sporting’s newest player.
1. Experience in Abundance
The 6-foot-2 Isimat-Mirin boasts a wealth of experience in some of Europe’s top leagues. Over the last decade, he has logged 93 appearances each in France’s Ligue 1 (Valenciennes, Monaco and Toulouse) and the Dutch Eredivisie (PSV Eindhoven) while also competing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. He joins Sporting following a stint at Besiktas in the Turkish Super Lig and has upwards of 250 professional matches under his belt.
2. Academy Upbringing
Born in the Paris suburb of Meudon, Isimat-Mirin competed in the famous Clairefontaine youth academy from 2004-2007 before continuing his development at Rennes (2007-2009) and Valenciennes (2009-2010). He began his professional career as an 18-year-old in 2010 and spent the next three seasons as a regular starter for Valenciennes, helping the side to three straight top-12 finishes in Ligue 1.
3. Youth International
While at Valenciennes, Isimat-Mirin represented France as a U-20 and U-21 youth international and notably featured for Les Bleus during 2013 UEFA European U-21 Championship qualifying. He struck a center back partnership alongside future FIFA World Cup winner Raphael Varane as France finished atop their qualifying group.
4. A Stop in Monaco
Strong performances at Valenciennes landed Isimat-Mirin a transfer to French title contender Monaco. He played 11 matches for the club in all competitions during the 2013-14 season as Monaco placed second in Ligue 1 and advanced to the Coupe de France semifinals. During this time, he was part of a stellar squad that featured Colombian stars James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao, Portuguese standouts Joao Moutinho and Ricardo Carvalho, French legend Eric Abidal and Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov.
5. First League Title
In September 2014, Isimat-Mirin was loaned from Monaco to PSV Eindhoven, marking the start of a brilliant four-year tenure at the Dutch juggernaut. In his first Eredivisie campaign, he helped PSV win the league title by a 17-point margin while also playing six matches in the UEFA Europa League.
6. Second League Title
PSV acquired Isimat-Mirin on a permanent transfer ahead of the 2015-16 campaign, which saw him appear in 26 matches as PSV captured another Eredivisie title and advanced to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, where they fell to eventual finalist Atletico Madrid in a penalty shootout following two scoreless legs.
PSV relinquished their Eredivisie crown in 2016-2017, but Isimat-Mirin continued to flourish with starts in 35 of 37 matches, including five of six UEFA Champions League group stage contests against Atletico Madrid, German giants Bayern Munich and Russian outfit FC Rostov.
7. Third League Title
Isimat-Mirin and PSV reclaimed their perch atop the Eredivisie in 2017-2018, edging archrivals Ajax by four points and clinching the title with a 3-0 win over the club on April 15. Isimat-Mirin started 37 matches in his final full campaign at PSV, ending his time in Eindhoven with six goals and 130 competitive appearances.
8. From Turkey to France
In January 2019, Isimat-Mirin left the Netherlands to join Besiktas in Turkey. He started 14 matches during the latter half of the Super Lig season with Besiktas finishing four points shy of the league title. For the 2019-20 campaign, the defender was loaned back to Ligue 1 for a stint with Toulouse, where he made 16 starts and scored his 10th professional goal versus Strasbourg in December 2019.
9. French Connection
Isimat-Mirin is the second French player to join Sporting this offseason. Last month, the club signed 25-year-old midfielder Remi Walter, who made 74 Ligue 1 appearances during spells at Nice and Troyes and played for France at the U-17 through U-21 levels.
10. On Social Media
With another talented defender joining the ranks, Sporting’s roster now consists of 27 players. The club will convene later this month for the start of the 2021 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy, before kicking off the 2021 MLS campaign in the spring. For a full list of Sporting’s offseason roster moves, visit SportingKC.com/tracker.