Kei Kamara

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Kei Kamara
10 Kei Kamara.jpg
Personal information
Full name Kei Ansu Kamara
Date of birth (1984-09-01) 1 September 1984 (age 30)
Place of birth Kenema, Sierra Leone
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current team
Columbus Crew
Number 23
Youth career
2001–2003 Kallon F.C.
2004–2005 Dominguez Hills Toros
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004–2005 Orange County Blue Star 19 (16)
2006–2007 Columbus Crew 36 (5)
2008 San Jose Earthquakes 12 (2)
2008–2009 Houston Dynamo 32 (7)
2009–2013 Sporting Kansas City 113 (38)
2013 Norwich City (loan) 11 (1)
2013–2014 Middlesbrough 25 (4)
2015– Columbus Crew 2 (1)
National team
2008– Sierra Leone 21 (4)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14 March 2015.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 6 September 2014

Kei Ansu Kamara (/ˈk kəˈmɑrə/; born 1 September 1984) is a Sierra Leonean footballer who currently plays for the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

Early life and education[edit]

Kamara was born and raised in Kenema, Sierra Leone's third 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, and settled with relatives in Hawthorne, California, near Los Angeles.[1]

Kamara played college soccer at California State University, Dominguez Hills, where, in his sophomore season, he was named third-team All-American. Kamara also spent two seasons with Orange County Blue Star in the USL Premier Development League.

Club career[edit]

Columbus Crew[edit]

Kamara was chosen by Columbus Crew ninth overall at the 2006 MLS SuperDraft. He spent two seasons there, making 36 appearances and scoring 5 goals.

San Jose Earthquakes[edit]

Prior to the 2008 season, he was traded to San Jose Earthquakes in exchange for Brian Carroll.[2] However, he only spent the 2008 season there, making 12 appearances and scoring 2 goals

Houston Dynamo[edit]

On 24 July 2008, Kamara was traded to Houston Dynamo for a first-round pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money.[3] 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[edit]

Kamara taking on Houston Dynamo's Corey Ashe.

On 15 September 2009, Kamara was traded to Sporting Kansas City for Abe Thompson and allocation money.[4] Kamara had several productive seasons with Kansas City which saw him become one of the most imposing wingers in the league.[5]

Norwich City (loan)[edit]

Kamara was a transfer target of Norwich City of the English Premier League during the winter 2013 transfer window,[6] following an unsuccessful trial at Stoke City earlier in the off-season.[7] 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.[7] Norwich City announced on 5 February that Kamara was granted a visa, making him legally eligible to play for the club.[8] Kamara made his league debut for Norwich as an 86th minute substitute in a 0–0 draw with Fulham on 9 February 2013. His performance during his cameo appearance was described as a "...promising glimpse of Kamara's potential..." On the next matchday, 23 February 2013, Kamara came on as a 58th minute substitute. In the 84th minute of that match, Kamara scored his first goal for Norwich City, equalising 1–1 against Everton with a powerful header at Carrow Road, in an eventual 2–1 victory after Grant Holt scored in injury time.[9][10] Kamara assisted team-mate Wes Hoolahan in the 1-1 draw against Sunderland, as Kamara's header past the goalkeeper was deflected into the net by Wes who was stood 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.[11]


On 2 September 2013, it was confirmed that Kamara had signed for Middlesbrough of the Championship[12] for a fee of £900,000.[13] Kamara made his debut for the club on 14 September 2013 coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute in a 1-3 loss to Ipswich Town.[14] On 17 September 2013, Kamara made his first start and scored his first goal for Boro in a 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest.[15] He followed up his first goal against Forest by scoring on his home debut, a 3-3 draw against Bournemouth four days later.[16] He then scored on 5 October 2013 in a 4-1 win at home to Yeovil Town. On 25 October 2013, he scored in a 4-0 win at home to Doncaster Rovers. On the 28th August 2014, it was announced that Middlesbrough had parted company with Kamara as his contract had been cancelled by mutual consent.[17]

After parting ways with Middlesbrough, Kamara had a successful trial with recently promoted Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, Kamara's 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.[18]

Return to Columbus Crew[edit]

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.[19]At the time, the #1 spot in the allocation ranking was held by Columbus Crew SC, the club which initially drafted Kamara in 2006. On October 7, 2014 it was confirmed that Kamara had signed for Columbus Crew SC of Major League Soccer and would officially be added to the roster January 1, 2015.[20] 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.

International career[edit]

Kamara made his debut for the Sierra Leone national football team, commonly referred to as the Leone Stars, on 5 September 2010, during a 1–1 draw with Egypt in Sierra Leone's first group stage match in qualification for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations. Kamara has since formed a regular partnership up front with fellow Kenema native Mohamed Kallon in the Leone Stars attack.

International goals[edit]

Scores and results list Sierra Leone's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 16 June 2012 National Stadium, Freetown, Sierra Leone  São Tomé and Príncipe 1–1 4–2 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualification
2. 3–1
3. 8 June 2013 National Stadium, Freetown, Sierra Leone  Tunisia 1–0 2–2 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification
4. 6 September 2014 Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan, Ivory Coast  Ivory Coast 1–0 1-2 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification


Kamara is a U.S. citizen.[21]



Sporting Kansas City


  1. ^ "Sierra Leone fans hail Kei Kamara debut". ESPN. Retrieved 12 February 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Wiebe, Andrew. "Rumor Central: Norwich reportedly interested in bringing Kamara to EPL". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Norwich make move for Sierra Leone international Kei Kamara". Sky Sports. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Firchau, Nick. "Sporting KC's Kamara loaned out to EPL side Norwich City". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "KAMARA GRANTED VISA". Norwich City Football Club. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Hain-Cole, Al. "Norwich 0–0 Fulham: Canaries still searching for first league win since December". Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  10. ^ Lalas, Greg. "HIGHLIGHT: Sporting KC's Kei Kamara scores to lead EPL's Norwich City to victory". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Kei Kamara to rejoin Sporting Kansas City, eligible for selection in midweek game vs. Seattle". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "Sporting KC loses Kei Kamara to Middlesbrough FC". Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Fajah Barrie, Mohamed. "Kei Kamara makes Middlesbrough debut". Sierra Leone Football Federation. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  15. ^ "Nottm Forest 2 Middlesbrough 2". BBC. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Vickers, Anthony. "Kei Kamara: Soccer Gods did not smile on Boro against Bournemouth". Gazette Live. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  17. ^ Prescott, Jack. "Wolverhampton Wanderers end Kei Kamara interest". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  18. ^ Itel, Dan. "Kei Kamara leaving Middlesbrough, could be eyeing return to MLS and former club Sporting KC". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  19. ^ "Crew signs forward Kei Kamara". Columbus Crew SC. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Barrie, Mohamed Fajah. "Kei Kamara voted Sierra Leonean player of the year 2012". Sierra Leone Football. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Ibrahim Kargbo
Sierra Leone captain