Kamara playing for the Houston Dynamo in 2009
|Full name||Kei Ansu Kamara|
|Date of birth||1 September 1984|
|Place of birth||Kenema, Sierra Leone|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (191 cm)|
|2004–2005||Cal State Dominguez Hills Toros||47||(31)|
|2004–2005||Orange County Blue Star||19||(16)|
|2008||San Jose Earthquakes||12||(2)|
|2009–2013||Sporting Kansas City||113||(38)|
|2013||→ Norwich City (loan)||11||(1)|
|2016–2017||New England Revolution||52||(19)|
|2018||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||28||(14)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 4 November 2020|
Kei Ansu Kamara (/ /; born 1 September 1984) is a Sierra Leonean international footballer who plays as a striker for Major League Soccer club Minnesota United. In 2015, Kamara tied for top scorer in MLS with 22 goals, losing out to Sebastian Giovinco on the Golden Boot on fewer assists. He is one of only 10 players to have scored 100 goals in MLS history, achieving the landmark in 300 appearances, and is currently fifth on MLS's all-time scoring list.
Early life and education
Kamara was born and raised in Kenema, Sierra Leone's second-largest city, and began his career playing for Kallon F.C. from 2001–2003. At age 16, Kamara and his family migrated to the United States through a refugee program, initially moving to Maryland, before settling with relatives in Hawthorne, California, near Los Angeles. He became an American citizen.
Kamara played college soccer at California State University, Dominguez Hills, where, in his second year, he was named third-team All-American. Kamara also spent two seasons with Orange County Blue Star in the USL Premier Development League.
2006–2009: Early MLS career
On 24 July 2008, Kamara was traded to Houston Dynamo for a first-round pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money. On 30 September 2008, Kamara scored two goals for MLS champion Houston Dynamo against Mexican club UNAM Pumas in a CONCACAF Champions League match.
Sporting Kansas City
On 15 September 2009, Kamara was traded to Sporting Kansas City for Abe Thompson and allocation money. Kamara had several productive seasons with Kansas City which saw him become one of the most imposing wingers in the league.
Loan to Norwich City
Kamara was a transfer target of Norwich City of the English Premier League during the winter 2013 transfer window, following an unsuccessful trial at Stoke City earlier in the off-season. It was announced on 30 January 2013 that Kamara was signed on loan by Norwich for the remainder of the 2012–13 Premier League season. Norwich had the option for a pre-negotiated permanent transfer or to return Kamara to Sporting at the end of the season, in which case Kamara would miss the first 10 matches of the MLS season. As part of the deal, Kamara's contract with Major League Soccer was extended. Norwich City announced on 5 February that Kamara was granted a visa, making him legally eligible to play for the club. He made his league debut for Norwich as an 86th-minute substitute in a 0–0 draw with Fulham four days later. On the next matchday, 23 February, he came on as a 58th-minute substitute, and 19 minutes later, scored his first goal for Norwich, equalising 1–1 against Everton with a powerful header at Carrow Road, in an eventual 2–1 victory. Kamara assisted team-mate Wes Hoolahan in the 1–1 draw against Sunderland on 17 March, as his header past the goalkeeper was deflected into the net by Hoolahan who was standing on the goal-line. Kamara later claimed the only reason he did not claim the goal as his own was that it was St. Patrick's Day, and he and Irishman Hoolahan had an Irish dance celebration planned.
Kamara quickly became a fan favourite of the Norwich support for his enthusiastic and flamboyant style of play, with some fans composing songs to recognise their new-found hero. Despite this, Kamara did not score any more in a Norwich shirt and Norwich declined the option of taking him on a permanent transfer. On 4 May 2013, Norwich City confirmed the loan deal had ended and he would be returning to Sporting Kansas City immediately.
On 2 September 2013, it was confirmed that Kamara had signed for Middlesbrough of the Championship on a two-year contract for a fee of £900,000. He made his debut for the club twelve days later, coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute in a 1–3 loss to Ipswich Town. On 17 September, Kamara made his first start and scored his first goal for Boro in a 2–2 draw at Nottingham Forest. He followed up his first goal against Forest by scoring on his home debut, a 3–3 draw against Bournemouth four days later. He then scored on 5 October in a 4–1 win at home to Yeovil Town, and twenty days later in a 4–0 home win at over Doncaster Rovers. On 28 August 2014, it was announced that Middlesbrough had parted company with Kamara as his contract had been cancelled by mutual consent.
After parting ways with Middlesbrough, Kamara had a successful trial with recently promoted Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, his work permit renewal application was declined after Sierra Leone fell to 75th place in the FIFA World Rankings and Wolverhampton shifted its focus to signing Yannick Sagbo instead.
Return to Columbus
In late August 2014, it was revealed that Kamara could return to MLS but would have to go through the league's allocation ranking system since Kansas City received a transfer fee for the player. At the time, the No. 1 spot in the allocation ranking was held by Columbus Crew SC, the club which initially drafted Kamara in 2006. On 7 October 2014 it was confirmed that Kamara had signed for Columbus and would officially be added to the roster 1 January 2015. Because he was released by Middlesbrough after the 2014 MLS roster freeze, he would not be able to appear for the Crew until the 2015 Major League Soccer season.
The following season, he helped the Crew to the play-offs by finishing second in the Eastern Conference, and finished the 2015 MLS season as the joint top-scorer of the league, alongside Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco, with 22 goals in 33 games, although Giovinco claimed the MLS Golden Boot due to having provided more assists throughout the season (16 compared to Kamara's 8), which was the tie-breaking criterion. In November 2015, he was named one of the three finalists for both the 2015 MLS Landon Donovan MVP Award and the 2015 Advocare MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year Award; he was awarded the MLS Humanitarian of the Year Award on 5 November, although he missed out on the MVP Award, which went to Giovinco. On 8 November, he scored two goals in a 3–1 win over Montreal Impact in the Eastern Conference semi-finals of the MLS Playoffs, including the decisive goal in extra-time, which allowed Columbus Crew to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. On 22 November, he scored in the first leg of the 2015 MLS Playoff Eastern Conference Finals, a 2–0 win over the New York Red Bulls, which allowed Columbus to claim the 2015 Eastern Conference Championship 2–1 on aggregate and advance to the MLS Cup Final. Due to an injury sustained in training, however, it was initially uncertain whether Kamara would be able to feature in the 2015 MLS Cup Final against the Portland Timbers; nevertheless, he played all 90 minutes of the match, scoring the only goal for Columbus in a 2–1 defeat. With 4 goals, Kamara was the top-goalscorer in the 2015 MLS Playoffs, bringing his total seasonal tally to 26 goals although he missed out on the MLS Cup MVP Award, which went to Portland's Diego Valeri.
After being signed to a Designated Player contract, Columbus got off to a rough start in the 2016 season. Kamara scored five goals in his first nine games including a brace against Montreal on 7 May 2016 where Columbus had the lead. An argument arose between Federico Higuaín and Kamara over a penalty kick, with Kei potentially getting his first hat trick in his career, however Higuaín wanted to take it himself. The game ended in a 4–4 draw. After the game, Kamara publicly called Higuaín out in an interview after the game. As a result, he was suspended by manager Gregg Berhalter for the next game.
New England Revolution
On 12 May 2016, just five days after the penalty kick incident with Higuaín, Kamara was traded to New England Revolution in a blockbuster deal which saw Columbus receive a first-round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, a second-round pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, an international roster slot for the 2016 season, general allocation money, targeted allocation money, and a percentage of any fee received should New England transfer Kamara to a club outside of MLS.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
On 10 December 2017, Kamara was traded by New England to Vancouver Whitecaps FC in exchange for a first-round selection in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft and a conditional second-round selection in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft.  He scored on his debut on 4 March against Montreal Impact in a 2–1 win. Kamara left Vancouver at the end of their 2018 season when his contract expired.
On 11 December 2018, Kamara was selected by FC Cincinnati in the 2018 MLS Expansion Draft and immediately traded to Colorado Rapids in exchange for an international roster slot for the 2019 season.
He scored the second hat-trick of his professional career, and the ninth overall hat-trick in franchise history for the Colorado Rapids, in a 6–3 win over Montreal Impact on 3 August 2019. The tally meant he reached 11 league goals for the season, the most for the Rapids since Omar Cummings in 2010.
On 18 September 2020, Colorado traded Kamara to Minnesota United for allocation money and a 2022 second round MLS SuperDraft pick. He scored a penalty kick against FC Cincinnati on 3 October 2020, becoming the first MLS player to score for eight different teams; no one else has scored for more than six.
Kamara was dropped from the national team set-up for "disciplinary reasons" in August 2019. He was recalled later that month. He retired from international duty in November 2019, blaming in part new manager Sellas Tetteh. Tetteh defended himself.
Kamara earned his U.S. citizenship in 2006.
|Club||Season||League||Domestic Cup[a]||League Cup||Continental||Other||Total|
|Orange County Blue Star||2004||PDL||5||4||–||–||–||1[b]||1||6||5|
|San Jose Earthquakes||2008||MLS||12||2||0||0||–||–||–||12||2|
|Sporting Kansas City||2009||MLS||6||1||0||0||–||0||0||–||6||1|
|Norwich City (loan)||2012–13||Premier League||11||1||0||0||0||0||–||–||11||1|
|New England Revolution||2016||MLS||21||7||5||2||–||–||–||26||9|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC||2018||MLS||28||14||3||3||–||–||–||31||17|
- As of 8 September 2019
Scores and results list Sierra Leone's goal tally first.
|1.||16 June 2012||National Stadium, Freetown, Sierra Leone||São Tomé and Príncipe||2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|3.||6 September 2014||Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan, Ivory Coast||Ivory Coast||2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|4.||3 September 2016||Stade Bouaké, Bouaké, Ivory Coast||2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualification|
|5.||8 September 2019||National Stadium, Freetown, Sierra Leone||Liberia||2022 FIFA World Cup qualification|
Sporting Kansas City
- MLS Fair Play Award: 2007
- Sierra Leonean Player of the Year: 2012
- MLS Joint Top-scorer: 2015 (22 goals, alongside Sebastian Giovinco)
- MLS All-Star: 2015
- MLS Works Humanitarian of the Year: 2015
- MLS Best XI: 2015
- MLS Cup Playoffs Top-scorer: 2015
- "Kamara scores 100th goal, Whitecaps beat Dynamo 2-1". Retrieved 15 March 2018.
- "All-time statistics". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
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- Martin Rogers, USA TODAY Sports (8 November 2014). "MLS players feel helpless watching homeland fight Ebola". USA TODAY. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
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- Wiebe, Andrew. "Rumor Central: Norwich reportedly interested in bringing Kamara to EPL". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- "Norwich make move for Sierra Leone international Kei Kamara". Sky Sports. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- Firchau, Nick. "Sporting KC's Kamara loaned out to EPL side Norwich City". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 30 January 2013.
- "KAMARA GRANTED VISA". Norwich City Football Club. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
- Hain-Cole, Al. "Norwich 0–0 Fulham: Canaries still searching for first league win since December". Goal.com. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- Lalas, Greg. "HIGHLIGHT: Sporting KC's Kei Kamara scores to lead EPL's Norwich City to victory". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
- "Kei Kamara to rejoin Sporting Kansas City, eligible for selection in midweek game vs. Seattle". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- "Sporting KC loses Kei Kamara to Middlesbrough FC". kansascity.com. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- Philip Tallentire (3 September 2013). "Boro bring in Jacob Butterfield and Kei Kamara". gazettelive. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
- Fajah Barrie, Mohamed. "Kei Kamara makes Middlesbrough debut". Sierra Leone Football Federation. Archived from the original on 25 September 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- "Nottm Forest 2 Middlesbrough 2". BBC. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Vickers, Anthony. "Kei Kamara: Soccer Gods did not smile on Boro against Bournemouth". Gazette Live. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
- "Kamara parts ways with Middlesbrough by mutual consent". Soccer By Ives. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
- Prescott, Jack. "Wolverhampton Wanderers end Kei Kamara interest". sportsmole.co.uk. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- Itel, Dan. "Kei Kamara leaving Middlesbrough, could be eyeing return to MLS and former club Sporting KC". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- "Crew signs forward Kei Kamara". Columbus Crew SC. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
- Laura Armstrong (25 October 2015). "Toronto FC's Giovinco wins MLS's Golden Boot award". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
- "Benny Feilhaber, Sebastian Giovinco, Kei Kamara contend for Landon Donovan MVP as MLS announces 2015 Awards finalists". MLS Soccer. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
- "Columbus Crew SC forward Kei Kamara named MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year". MLS Soccer. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
- John Molinaro (2 December 2015). "TFC's Giovinco named Major League Soccer MVP". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
- "Columbus Crew beat Montreal Impact thanks to Kei Kamara winner". ESPN FC. 8 November 2015. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
- Andrew King (22 November 2015). "Columbus Crew SC 2, New York Red Bulls 0 – MLS Cup Playoffs Match Recap". MLS Soccer. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- Andrew King (29 November 2015). "Columbus Crew SC proud to host MLS Cup final: "Columbus deserves a championship"". MLS Soccer. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- Andrew King (6 December 2015). "MLS Cup: Columbus Crew SC fans stayed behind to cheer on a dejected Kei Kamara". MLS Soccer. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- Ben Crouch (6 December 2015). "Columbus Crew SC 1, Portland Timbers 2 – MLS Cup Match Recap". MLS Sosccer. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- James Keep (7 December 2015). "Kick Off: Timbers win first MLS Cup – Valeri named MVP – Stadium site in Miami". MLS Soccer. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- Andrew King (8 May 2016). "Kei Kamara blasts Crew SC teammate Federico Higuain after PK argument". MLS Soccer. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- Nicholas Rosano (12 May 2016). "New England Revolution acquire forward Kei Kamara from Columbus Crew SC". MLS Soccer. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
- Seth Macomber (30 June 2016). "Kei Kamara scores his first goal in a Revolution Jersey". Bent Musket. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- "Whitecaps FC acquire two-time MLS all-star striker Kei Kamara". whitecapsfc.com. Vancouver Whitecaps FC. 10 December 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
- "Boxscore: Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Montreal Impact 03/04/2018 | Matchcenter". mlssoccer.com. Major League Soccer. 4 March 2018.
- "Whitecaps FC announce first roster moves ahead of 2019, exercise seven contract options". whitecapsfc.com. Vancouver Whitecaps FC. 26 November 2018.
- "Rapids acquire two-time MLS All-Star Kei Kamara". coloradorapids.com. Colorado Rapids. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
- "Minnesota United signs Kei Kamara from Colorado". espn.com. ESPN. 18 September 2020. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
- Butler, Dylan (5 October 2020). "Veteran Kei Kamara tops MLS list by scoring goals for eight different teams". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
- "Kei Kamara waits to react to Sierra Leone disciplinary axe". BBC Sport. 22 August 2019.
- Barrie, Mohamed Fajah (27 August 2019). "Kei Kamara recalled by Sierra Leone as disciplinary ban lifted". BBC Sport. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
- "Sierra Leone's Kei Kamara quits international football". 13 November 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Sierra Leone boss Sellas Tetteh responds to Kei Kamara comments". 14 November 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Motez Bishara (19 November 2015). "MLS: Scoring champ Kei Kamara escapes civil war, thrives with Crew". CNN. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- Kei Kamara at Major League Soccer
- Kei Kamara at Soccerway
- Kei Kamara at Soccerbase
- "Kei Kamara at SoccerStats.us". SoccerStats.us. SoccerStats.us. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
- "2004 Orange County Blue Star statistics". USLSoccer.com. United Soccer League. Archived from the original on 22 December 2004. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "2005 Orange County Blue Star statistics". USLSoccer.com. United Soccer League. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "Kei Kamara". National Football Teams. Benjamin Strack-Zimmerman. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "K. Kamara – Soccerway". Soccerway. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- "Kei Kamara, Wil Trapp & Michael Parkhurst react to Columbus Crew winning the Eastern Conference Championship – MLS Now". MLS Soccer. 30 November 2015. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
- Barrie, Mohamed Fajah. "Kei Kamara voted Sierra Leonean player of the year 2012". Sierra Leone Football. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
- "Sebastian Giovinco, Kei Kamara among 22 players named to 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game roster". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- "Columbus Crew SC forward Kei Kamara named MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year". MLS. 5 November 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- "2015 MLS Best XI revealed: 10 first-time selections get the nod". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 29 November 2015.
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