VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps FC made their second significant attacking addition of the offseason on Sunday, acquiring striker Kei Kamara from New England Revolution in exchange for Vancouver's 2019 natural first round SuperDraft pick and a conditional 2020 second round SuperDraft selection.
Kamara, who is under contract through 2018, joins 23-year-old Venezuelan striker Anthony Blondell as new players on the 'Caps front line. A proven MLS goalscorer, Kamara will officially be added to the club's roster pending receipt of his international transfer certificate, Canadian work permit, and visa. He will occupy a Designated Player roster slot and is a domestic player as an American citizen.
"Kei is a player that brings goals and experience to the table," said Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. "He's a big body and he thrives off crosses. Most importantly, he's a good character and he's driven to win. We firmly believe that Kei can help lead this team into exciting times next year."
Per the conditions of the agreement, if Kamara is re-assigned to another MLS team prior to the 2018 roster freeze, the conditional 2020 second round SuperDraft pick would become Vancouver's natural first round selection. In addition, should Vancouver permanently transfer Kamara outside of MLS prior to the 2018 roster freeze, New England and Vancouver will evenly split the clubs' share of the transfer proceeds.
Whitecaps FC striker Kei Kamara
- 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 MLS seasons, including playoffs
- 10th all-time in MLS regular season goals with 98, and second among active players behind only Chris Wondolowski
- Finalist for 2015 MLS MVP after leading the league with 26 goals, including playoffs, and helping Columbus to a runner-up finish in MLS Cup
- First player from Sierra Leone to score in the English Premier League
- Captained his national team, scoring five goals in 26 appearances for the Leone Stars
Kamara, 33, has 103 goals and 39 assists in 246 starts and 298 appearances in his MLS career, including playoffs, becoming only the 12th player in league history to eclipse the century mark in goals. Last season, Kamara led New England with 12 goals, including four game-winners, tied for ninth in the league, in addition to his five assists.
“I’m really excited to come to Vancouver,” said Kamara. “I’ve been following the club, and I know that they have a very competitive team that suits the way I play. I want to put pressure on myself to continue to score goals. Most importantly, I want to bring success to the Southsiders, Curva Collective, Rain City Brigade, and all the supporters and fans of this club.”
The 6-foot-3 striker's 11 seasons of MLS experience began as an MLS SuperDraft selection with Columbus Crew in 2006. His MLS career includes stops with San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo, Kansas City Wizards/Sporting Kansas City, a return to Columbus, and most recently, with New England. Kamara ranks 10th all-time in goals in league play, second among all active players, and is third all-time in shots. A two-time MLS All-Star, he led MLS in total goals, including playoffs, with 26 in 2015. That same year he was a finalist for the MLS Most Valuable Player award and was named to the MLS Best XI while leading Columbus to a runner-up finish in MLS Cup.
In cup competition, Kamara has five goals in eight starts and 12 appearances in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, helping Sporting KC hoist the trophy in 2012, and leading New England to a second-place finish in 2016. He also scored three goals in eight matches for Houston Dynamo in consecutive CONCACAF Champions League tournaments from 2008 to 2009.
Outside of MLS, Kamara also played for then-English Premier League side Norwich City FC and English Football League Championship club Middlesbrough FC. He scored one goal in seven starts and 11 EPL appearances while on loan to Norwich during the second half of the in 2012-2013 season. Kamara then joined Middlesbrough for the 2013-14 season and scored four goals in 16 starts and 25 appearances.
Born in Kenema, Sierra Leone before taking up his citizenship in the United States in 2006, Kamara has made 26 appearances, several of them as captain, for his native country, scoring five goals for the Leone Stars.
The trade was completed during Major League Soccer's half-day trade window today, December 10, which was open from 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. PT. The next phase of the offseason calendar is the MLS Expansion Draft, set for Tuesday, December 12 at 11:00 a.m. PT. The complete MLS offseason schedule may be viewed online here.
Weight: 190 pounds
Date of Birth: September 1, 1984 in Kenema, Sierra Leone
Hometown: Kenema, Sierra Leone
Citizenship: Sierra Leone, United States
Status: Designated Player, Domestic
Last club: New England Revolution (MLS: '16-'17)
How Acquired: Acquired on Sunday, December 10, 2017 from New England Revolution in exchange for Vancouver's 2019 natural first round pick and a conditional 2020 second round SuperDraft selection.