Kei Kamara, of the Columbus Crew, currently leads Major League Soccer in goals scored with 15 just half-way through the season.
But who is Kei Kamara?
Despite his obvious skills and league leading goal tally, Kamara was not voted onto his first All-Star Team by the fans, but instead was added to the 2015 All-Star Team as a commissioner’s pick.
Being added to the MLS All-Star roster seems to be a relief for Kamara considering that many had thought he had been snubbed in the 2010 All-Star selections.
“I’m just here enjoying my moment, really,” he said with a smile on his face before training on Tuesday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. “It’s great for me to be selected, and I’m honored to be here, but it’s an All-Star Game. It’s not the World Cup, so I’m here to enjoy it.”
Is Kamara underrated because he plays for small market Columbus Crew, or is it because he’s not a former European Star or an American international? Maybe it’s the fact that he has jumped around to so many clubs in his career.
The Sierra Leone international was born and raised in Kenema, a City in the West African country of Sierra Leone.
Kamara started his football career at a young age, playing for top professional club Kallon F.C, in the nearby capital city of Freetown.
When Kamara was 16 he and his family left the war-torn country through a refugee program. Kamara ended up in Southern California and he is now a U.S. Citizen.
The 30-year-old, six-foot-three-inch, 185 lbs striker is playing his ninth season in the MLS. In his first eight seasons in the MLS Kamara found the back-of-the-net an impressive 52 times and has produced 23 assists in roughly 200 matches.
During his MLS career he has moved within the MLS five times while playing for four different MLS teams (Columbus Crew, Sporting KC, Houston Dynamo, San Jose Earth Quakes) as well as two different stints in England.
After spending time with San Jose, Houston and Columbus, Kamara found a home in Kansas City where he averaged 10 goals a season between 2010 and 2012.
Due to Kamara’s success in Kansas City the English Premier League soon came a-knocking. Having grown up watching the EPL Kamara jumped at the opportunity to go to the English top-flight.
Kamara’s first overseas stint was on a trial basis with Stoke City. From there he went on to play with Norwich City and was granted a visa.
In Norwich Kamara did have some success on the pitch and was a popular player with the fans but the team surprisingly declined the offer to keep him.
On May 2013 the loan to Norwich expired and Kamara was headed back to Sporting KC, but he wasn’t in the States long. Midway through his first season back Sporting transferred him to English Championship side Middlesbrough.
Unfortunately, things were not all that jolly in Old England! On December 7th Kamara injured his knee on the same night his former team Sporting KC won the MLS Cup.
Defeated, Kamara decided he wanted to commit to the growing American soccer league and make a name for himself in the MLS.
However, Sporting KC had lost the rights to Kamara because of the transfer fee they received from Middlesbough. Luckily for the crew of Columbus they were then in a position to seize the opportunity and once again pick up the journeyman forward.
Kamara is now making a name for himself and is considered an anchor for the Columbus Crew which currently sit second place in the Eastern Conference.
He is finally living “The American Dream” with his wife, newborn daughter and their dog named after his favorite football team, Chelsea. Hopefully he’ll be able to stick around for a while.
Is it still wise for Americans’ to leave the MLS considering its recent growth?