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Columbus signs Kei Kamara to Designated Player contract

Kei Kamara is signed through 2018 with a lucrative new deal, ending a pre-season contract dispute.

The contract dispute between Kei Kamara and Columbus Crew SC is officially over. 

Columbus rewarded Kamara with a Designated Player contract that lasts through the 2018 MLS season, ensuring the league's co-leading scorer in 2015 enters the season with a new deal in hand. Kamara joins Federico Higuain as DPs on the club, which employs two simultaneously for the first time. Kamara's 22 goals in the regular season were tied for the most with Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco, and Kamara finished as runner-up to Giovinco in league MVP voting. 

Kamara scored four more goals in the playoffs, helping Columbus reach the MLS Cup final.

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“We are proud to be able to offer Kei a contract extension,” Columbus head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter said in a statement. “To me, he is a true success story in this league: a player who has worked his way up the ranks and now has earned a Designated Player contract following one of the most prolific goal-scoring seasons in MLS history last year."

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Kamara and Columbus open the season in Portland against the Timbers in a rematch of MLS Cup, which Portland won 2-1 at Crew SC's MAPFRE Stadium in December.