A child refugee from Sierra Leone, the Columbus Crew striker speaks openly about growing up around brutal violence and leaving his homeland.
He also spoke about how he might’ve retired if the Crew beat Portland in last year’s MLS Cup final, but the “Oh man” material is mainly based around his incredible life story.
And while you should read it for the inspiration, perhaps no part is better than his friend Michael Lahoud, now with the New York Cosmos, recalling how Kamara sought him on the field:
His friend Lahoud, who fled Sierra Leone at age 6, first experienced Kamara’s free spirit during an offseason pickup game in L.A. about seven years ago, when Lahoud was playing for Chivas U.S.A. and Kamara was with Houston.
“I’m a reserved dude,” Lahoud says, “and this guy comes up to me, and he starts speaking our language in Sierra Leone, Krio. And I haven’t heard anyone speak Krio to me outside of my family since I moved to the U.S., so I didn’t really engage him. I thought he was crazy.”
Things didn’t go much differently when Kamara attempted the same tactic on the pitch during an MLS match.
“Off goal kicks and corner kicks, he would come over and mark me and then start talking Krio again. I’m like, ‘Dude, stop talking to me! We’re on different teams!’ That’s Kei to a T. He’s laser-sharp focused, but he loves to have fun during the games, almost like a social club out on the field.”
The Crew will be favored to repeat their Conference-winning heroics in a wide-open Eastern Conference, and Kamara will be a big part of the drill.