Photo by Mike Dinovo/USA TODAY Sports
By DAN KARELL
One of Major League Soccer’s most well-liked players is back in the league after a tumultuous stay in England.
Kei Kamara, most recently a free agent after mutually terminating his contract with Middlesborough on Aug. 28, has signed with MLS and been allocated to the Columbus Crew, which held the top spot in the allocation ranking. According to a report in the Columbus Dispatch, Kamara will begin training with the Crew next week and can begin playing for the team in January.
Although the deal hasn’t been officially announced by the Crew, Kamara posted a picture of himself on his official Twitter account next to a sign advertising the Crew’s new logo. The club is scheduled to unveil the logo Wednesday night.
Kamara last played in MLS for Sporting Kansas City, where he became one of the most-feared goal scorers in the league, scoring 37 times in nearly four years with the club. Kamara spent winter and spring of 2013 on loan at then-English Premier League side Norwich City, remaining with the club until the final weeks of the season, when his loan ended.
The Sierra Leone international then made a permanent move in fall 2013 to Middlesborough, but he never truly settled in the team, making 16 starts in 25 appearances and scoring only four goals. He didn’t make a single appearance for Middlesborough before his contract was mutually terminated.
The signing makes it a full circle for Kamara, after the Crew selected him with the ninth overall selection in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft. The 30-year-old forward played 36 times for the Crew in 2006 and 2007, mostly off the bench, and scored five goals. He was traded prior to the 2008 season to the San Jose Earthquakes, and then was shipped out to the Houston Dynamo midway through the season.
In September 2009, Kamara was traded to Sporting KC in exchange for Abe Thompson and allocation funds.
By signing Kamara, the Crew solve one of their biggest problems all year, finding a strong, experienced player to man the lone striker role. At the same time, Kamara also has the speed and technical ability to take players one-on-one on the wings, which he did to deadly effect with Sporting KC.
What do you think of this signing? Glad to see Kamara back in MLS? Think he can succeed with the Crew? Where do you expect him to play in the Crew’s system?
Share your thoughts below.