The top African goalscorer in Major League Soccer this season is Kei Kamara, a 28-year-old striker from Sierra Leone who in 29 matches has scored 11 goals for Sporting Kansas City. With Kamara leading the attack, Kansas City currently leads the Eastern Conference in MLS and is a top contender for the trophy in the upcoming league playoffs.
Kamara was born and raised in Kenema, Sierra Leone’s third largest city, and he traveled to the United States as a teenager to escape the civil war in his homeland. He eventually settled with relatives in the Los Angeles area. Kamara’s turbulent childhood and dangerous journey is the subject of a documentary, titled simply “Kei.”
The documentary also takes a look at Kamara’s return to Sierra Leone for an African Nations Cup qualifying match. He scored his first two international goals for Sierra Leone’s national team, nicknamed The Leone Stars, in a 4-2 victory over Sao Tome and Principe in a 2013 Nations Cup qualifier on June 16th, 2012.
Kamara says soccer is worshiped in Sierra Leone, a country that’s bidding for its third appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations, the continent’s premier football tournament. Earlier this month, Sierra Leone drew 2-2 with visiting Tunisia in Freetown. The teams will meet again October 13th in Tunisia, with the winner of the two match series advancing to the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa.
Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Kamara has become a big fan favorite for his goal celebrations and also for his humanitarian work. Last year, he was named the 2011 Sporting Kansas City Humanitarian of the Year, an award voted on by media, coaches and fellow players. Kamara has supported Schools for Salone, a charity that is helping to rebuild schools in Sierra Leone, as well as Right to Play, an organization that uses sports and games to improve the lives of children in Africa and around the world.