The Columbus Crew have preceded its announcement of a re-vamped club identity by signing former Sporting Kansas City forward Kei Kamara, the club announced on Tuesday.
Kamara will not be able to appear with the team this season as the MLS roster deadline has already passed, but he has already joined his club to prepare for the 2015 campaign.
The Crew used its spot at the top of the MLS allocation order to nab Kamara, bringing the Sierra Leone international back to the club where he started his professional career. The Crew drafted Kamara out of Cal State Dominguez Hills with the ninth pick in the 2006 SuperDraft, and after two year with the club he moved on to stints at the San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo.
Kamara's next move to Kansas City would be the most lucrative of his career, as he established himself as a fan favorite and an integral part of an up-tempo attack.
His performances with Sporting KC earned Kamara a loan spell with Norwich City in the English Premier League, which was followed by a transfer to Middlesbrough, one level below in the English Championship. Kamara scored four goals with Middlesbrough but struggled with injures and canceled his contract by mutual consent with the club earlier this year.
“I think this is an important piece,” Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter told the Columbus Dispatch, which first reported news that Kamara has officially signed. “If you look at Kei and what he’s done in this league so far on the field and off the field, it’s a great piece for the club.”
The Crew are in the midst of a complete rebuild under Berhalter and new owner Anthony Precourt, one that will see the club unveil a new logo for the club as well as new investment in the club. SI's own Brian Straus reported that Kamara's acquisition was a possibility in September.