Kei Kamara

Soccer

Served as envoy

  • 2021  – 

To Kei Kamara, his home country of Sierra Leone means everything to him. Born in Kenema on Sept 1, 1984, he spent his childhood days like most African youngsters – playing soccer/football. By 1990, his mother left for the US and the country was in the middle of a bloody civil war that lasted 12 years. Fearing for their lives, Kamara and his family fled their home, eventually seeking refuge with his mom in 2000 in Los Angeles, California.

As a 16-year-old refugee Kamara, quickly found the structure and support he needed to graduate high school, and soon developed into a top goal scorer at nearby California State University Dominguez Hills. By 2006, he garnered attention from Major League Soccer and was drafted 9th overall by the Columbus Crew.

Over the past 15 years Kei has had an illustrious professional career that has included stints in the English Premier & Championship Leagues, and Veikkausliiga, the top division in Finland. He currently ranks 5th on the all-time MLS goal scorers list and is one of only 10 players to score over 100 goals. Kei has also represented Sierra Leone (Leone Stars) on the national stage for 12 years and helped lead the team to the 2021 African Cup of Nations Tournament for the first time since 1996.

While he’s enjoyed success on the field, Kei holds Community works close to his heart. In 2012, The Kei Kamara HEARTSHAPEDHANDS Foundation was founded with the sole purpose of providing scholarships to schools and students in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The foundation, named after his signature goal celebration, has allowed Kamara to follow his heart and use his hands to give back to the place he loves.

When the Sierra Leone government recently created free education for all, Kamara shifted the focus of his Foundation to help students earn an education through sports to study abroad. In the Fall of 2021, HSH helped its first-ever student athlete secure a scholarship to a prestigious Waldorf boarding school in New England and is currently working with other students for the same potential opportunities.

In addition, Kei has also been an active board member of the Black Players for Change (BPC) organization “committed to tackling racial injustices that have limited Black people from an equitable stake in the game of soccer and society.”

When he’s not playing soccer, Kei likes to spend time with his wife Kristin and three children – Kierin, Kendrick, Kaelan, and dog Chelsea (affectionately named after his favorite soccer team). If you know him you will know that family is his number one priority whether in Sierra Leone or in America