Sporting Kansas City announced on Wednesday that the club has loaned forward Kei Kamara to Norwich City F.C. (English Premier League) through May 6, pending Kamara receiving authorization for a work permit. Sporting Kansas City will receive two-thirds of the substantial loan fee to use as allocation money^ per MLS rules. If Norwich City elects not to acquire the player on a full transfer by May 6, then Kamara will rejoin Sporting Kansas City, where he will be available to play immediately for the club. As part of the agreement, Kamara’s contract with MLS has been extended.
"Our club continues to get a lot of attention throughout Europe," Sporting Kansas City Manager Peter Vermes said. "As we do with all of our decisions, we always think about the long-term impact on our organization, as well as the short-term. Ultimately, this opportunity allows us to re-invest back into the club and solidify our core group of players.
"We understand that players are going to be sought after and that players aspire to fulfill personal and professional ambitions. We want to continue to help them achieve those goals and this helps us accomplish that objective, along with extending his contract. We have a very strong roster and this enables another player to step up."
In seven MLS seasons, Kamara has 45 goals and 21 assists in 178 appearances. He has led Sporting KC in scoring each of the last three seasons, including a career-high 11 goals and eight assists last year.
A 2012 MLS All-Star, Kamara has also been a finalist for MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year the past two seasons for his community efforts in Kansas City and his native Sierra Leone.
"It is a very bittersweet day as I am excited to achieve one of my goals, which was to play in the EPL," Kamara said. "Being such a positive person, I trust in this decision and am thankful for the opportunity to play at Norwich City through the end of their season. I am grateful for the coaching staff at Sporting KC and especially Peter (Vermes) for believing in me and helping me through this process."
Kamara is set to become the second player acquired by an English Premier League club from Sporting Kansas City during the January transfer window. Midfielder Roger Espinoza joined Wigan Athletic earlier this month after five years in Kansas City.
Sporting Kansas City, first place finishers in the Eastern Conference each of the last two years, will begin the 2013 season on March 2. Manager Peter Vermes' roster returns captain and MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Jimmy Nielsen, MLS MVP finalist Graham Zusi, MLS Defender of the Year Matt Besler and MLS Best XI selection Aurelien Collin, alongside new attacking additions that include Designated Player Claudio Bieler and U.S. Men's National Team midfielder Benny Feilhaber.
^In accordance with MLS Roster Rules and Regulations, allocation money does not count against a club's salary budget and can be used:
- To sign players new to MLS
- To re-sign an existing MLS player, subject to League approval
- To "buy-down" a player's salary budget charge below the League maximum
- In connection with the exercise of an option to purchase a player's rights or the extension of a player's contract for the second year provided the player was new to MLS in the immediately prior year