The last 10 days have started exactly the same: roused from sleep by the cries of my 9-month-old son, I stumble into his room where I’m greeted by a smile, and, if I’m lucky, a diaper that’s only damp. I lift him out of his crib and we shuffle past the mirror, pausing to wave to the baby, then into the living room where, the kid still in my arms, I pick up my phone and scour Twitter for any indication of the Premier League future of Kei Kamara. The search is repeated throughout the day while neurotic thought patterns I haven’t had since I was an active member of the high school dating circuit populate my head:
Why did he change his Twitter picture? Why hasn’t he Tweeted in four hours? Why hasn’t Norwich made a decision? What does it all mean?
I’m obsessed with Kei’s future. Yes, we have a stake in it. With each development in his story, another layer is added to our documentary about him. But like those in Norwich, Kansas City and everywhere else the captain of the Sierra Leone national team has played, I am smitten by Kei’s story.
I desperately want Kei to stay in the Premier League. Don’t get me wrong: I love Sporting Kansas City. The organization, the fans and the ownership are all top notch. They’vesupported our efforts to help Kei build a school in Sierra Leone from the beginning and are purely responsible for the resurgence of my interest in Major League Soccer. I even subscribed to MatchDay Live so I could watch all their home games (the only other time I bought a sports package to watch out-of-market games was to watch my beloved New York Rangers from LA). I was blown away by the support the fans and club gave Kei when he went across the Atlantic to start his loan. I want to see Kei raise the MLS Cup, dance with CJ Sapong again and have his powder blue jersey retired. Just not yet.
For me, Kei embodies the spirit of Sierra Leone. It’s not just about a people who are indefatigable or hopeful—sure, they are both—but Kei, like the people we’ve met throughout the country, exudes a radiant joy that isn’t tied to career or success. It’s a joy found in everyday life.
And so it should come as no surprise that when we visited Kei in Norwich and we asked him how he wants this all to end, he didn’t talk about extending his stay in the Premier League or a glorious return to the MLS. Those things didn’t even enter the conversation. Instead, Kei talked about his dream of building a school in Sierra Leone so he could give kids the opportunities he never had.
Every time Kei steps on the pitch for Norwich, we are witness to a truly good man living out a dream. That just doesn’t happen every day. It’s not just inspiring, it’s intoxicating. I’m not ready for it to end. It’s time to get on the ball, City.