FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution today announced the acquisition of Designated Player, forward Kei Kamara in a trade with Columbus Crew SC. The agreement was executed prior to the close of Major League Soccer’s 1:00 a.m. ET transfer window today, Thursday, May 12. Details of the trade can be found below. In 2016, Kamara has made nine starts for Columbus, posting five goals in 790 minutes played.
Kamara, who joins the Revolution in the midst of his 10th season in MLS, has significant MLS experience, having made 234 appearances, including 187 starts, recording 79 goals and 31 assists while logging 17,195 minutes in his MLS career. His 79 career goals are second most among active MLS players, trailing only San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski, who has recorded 116 career goals. The Sierra Leone native had a career-best year in 2015, making 32 appearances, including 31 starts, recording a tie for the League high with 22 goals and adding eight assists. Kamara’s 2015 season saw the forward finish as runner-up in the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award, named to the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star roster, chosen for end-of-the-year MLS Best XI, and nominated for the Etihad Airways MLS Player of the month four times.
“We have been looking to strengthen our team and we feel that this addition accomplishes just that,” said Revolution General Manger Michael Burns. “Kei is a player who has had success and is a proven goal scorer in MLS. We’re pleased we were able to get this deal done and look forward to Kei’s arrival and integration into the team.”
Kamara’s 2015 season saw the forward set all-time single-season club records for Crew SC in 2015 with 135 shots, 57 shots on goal, and seven game-winning goals. He was also only the second player in Crew SC history to record at least 20 goals in a single regular season. Kamara played a crucial role in the Black & Gold’s MLS Cup Playoff run, which saw Columbus qualify for and host MLS Cup. His four goals during the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs were most of any player in postseason play last year.
He was named the 2015 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by Advocare for both his work with charitable initiative Schools for Salone, which he operates with New York Cosmos midfielder Michael Lahoud, as well as sharing of his motivational story with the Columbus community. Kamara and Lahoud received the 2015 FIFPro Merit Award for their work. The Sierra Leone natives built the Education for All Primary School for disadvantaged children in Allen Town, East End Freetown, which opened in Sept. 2015. Kamara also participated in Crew SC’s community outreach platform, Give Forward, to speak to children at Columbus-area schools and youth centers about his journey.
As the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, Kamara was drafted by the then Columbus Crew. In his first stint in Columbus, from 2006-07, Kamara made 36 appearances, including 13 starts, recording five goals including his first professional goal in his first-ever MLS appearance on April 1, 2006 at Kansas City.
Kamara joined the San Jose Earthquakes in 2008, making 13 appearances, scoring two goals, before being traded to the Houston Dynamo in July. Kamara played with the Dynamo through the remainder of 2008 and into 2009. In Houston, Kamara made 32 appearances, with 26 starts, recording seven goals and adding three assists.
The Sierra Leone native emerged as one of the League’s most potent attackers at the beginning of the 2009 season, when he joined Sporting Kansas City. From 2009-13, the forward made 113 appearances, including 97 starts, scoring 38 goals and adding 20 assists. Kamara scored a goal in Sporting’s 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Championship match against Seattle Sounders FC, and converted on a penalty in the shootout, helping to lead SKC to a championship victory.
Before the start of the 2013 MLS season, Kamara was loaned to Norwich City of the Barclays Premier League. Making 11 appearances, Kamara recorded his first Premier League goal on Feb. 23, 2013 vs. Everton. Kamara returned to Sporting Kansas City following his loan, where he finished the 2013 regular season.
Following the conclusion of 2013, the forward was transferred to Middlesbrough F.C. of the English Football League Championship. He made 25 appearances for Boro from 2013-14, scoring four goals. Following his time in England, he returned to MLS with Crew SC prior to the start of the 2015 MLS regular season.
Kamara has made 24 appearances for the Sierra Leone National Team, scoring four goals. Kamara’s most recent international appearance came on Sept. 6, 2015, when the Leone Stars played the Ivory Coast to a scoreless draw in a 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match.
TRANSACTION: New England Revolution acquire Kei Kamara from Columbus Crew SC in exchange for General Allocation Money, Targeted Allocation Money, New England’s highest First Round MLS SuperDraft pick in 2017, New England’s highest Second Round MLS SuperDraft pick in 2018, and one of New England’s international roster spots for the 2016 season. Additionally, Crew SC will retain a percentage of any future transfer fee for Kamara should he be transferred to a club outside of MLS. Kamara will occupy a Designated Player slot on the Revolution’s roster.
Name: Kei Kamara (KYE kuh-MAR-uh)
Hometown: Kenema, Sierra Leone
Date of Birth: 09/01/1984 (Kenema, Sierra Leone)
Nationality: Sierra Leone
Last Club: Columbus Crew SC