Newest LAFC signing Kei Kamara scores goals on and off the pitch

David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
The forward’s soccer journey began in Sierra Leone, where he played for Kallon FC in Freetown, a 4-hour journey from his home in Kenema.

LOS ANGELES — After a quiet and short offseason, LAFC, continuing in their signing frenzy in the 7th week of MLS action, announced their newest solution to a lack of consistent goals, signs legendary MLS-journeyman, Kei Kamara through the 2024 season with an option for 2025.

The forward’s soccer journey began in Sierra Leone, where he played for Kallon FC in Freetown, a 4-hour journey from his home in Kenema. But his dreams were disrupted when civil war broke out, and he and his family were forced to flee when he was just 14 years old. Two years later, they emigrated to the United States through a refugee program first settling in Maryland before moving to Hawthorne, California. He restarted his playing career at Cal State Dominguez Hill Toros, and followed with a stint at Orange County Blue Star. In 2006, Kamara was selected by Columbus Crew in the MLS SuperDraft first round, and the rest is a success story born from his dedication and impassioned pursuits on the pitch. Although Kamara became a US citizen that same year, he played for his home of Sierra Leone from 2008 until 2022.

Always with a penchant for scoring, the 17-year MLS veteran has amassed numerous honors and records along the way, playing in 418 regular-season matches, scoring the third-most goals in league history (144) just 1 goal from Landon Donovan’s record of 145. He’s one of among just 11 players in MLS to have ever surpassed the 100-goal mark. Kamara took a short detour from MLS by joining English Premier League club Norwich City in 2013 on loan. Kamara returned to MLS with Columbus Crew at the start of 2015 with a jumpstart, scoring 22 goals in the regular season making him the joint-top goalscorer that season along with Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco.

Kamara excels on and off the pitch. The two-time MLS All-Star was selected for his efforts on the pitch – in 2015 for his career-high 22 goals for Columbus Crew, and in 2023 as one of Don Garber’s Commissioner’s picks for his season efforts (5G, 2A) and his cumulative efforts being the only MLS player to league history to play for 10 different teams. He was also the 2015 MLS Works Humanitarian of the Year and FIFPro Merit Award winner (alongside Michael Lahoud) for his work on the Schools for Salone initiative. His Heart Shaped Hands Foundation focuses on educational outreach in Sierra Leone, where primary public schooling is not free, limiting access to less than half the children qualified for it.

An applause-worthy addition to LAFC’s growing and ever-changing team this season, Kamara naturally fills in for the number 9 vacuum left by Cristian Arango since 2023, after he helped the club win their MLS Cup. And, moreover, he permits the team to breathe a sigh of relief until the highly anticipated Olivier Giroud arrives this summer.

Buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride!