It’s difficult to think about Sporting Kansas City and not think about forward Kei Kamara. He's everywhere from ESPN the Magazine to billboards around Kansas City, and with his bubbly personality, his memorable goal celebrations and his trademark “Heart Shaped Hands,” he’s a character hard not to love.
But there’s more to Kei than the superstar status he’s earned in Kansas City over the past four years and on Saturday night, after Sporting KC takes on Toronto FC at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, ticket holders are invited to attend a special screening of “KEI” – a new 30-minute documentary on the Sierra Leone international by Copper Pot Films.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect, as Saturday is Kamara’s 28th birthday.
“They came up to me and told me they were working with the people who produced the movie and they wanted to show it on September 1st,” Kamara said. “I was like, ‘Oh really, did you guys know September 1st was my birthday?’“
He laughed and said he was surprised when they didn’t know, nonetheless, he liked the idea.
“But I think it’s the perfect day for them showing the movie about me,” Kamara said. “It’s just perfect.”
Ticket holders attending the documentary screening have the opportunity to donate to Schools for Salone to support Kamara's charity efforts.
Last year, Kei was named the 2011 Sporting Kansas City Humanitarian of the Year, as voted on by media, coaches and fellow players. While he said being named Humanitarian of the Year is an honor, giving back is just something he loves to do.
“I’m not doing it to get credit for it, I’m just doing it because it’s part of me,” the Sierra Leone native said. “I wished I had seen more of that from other people growing up. I’m honored that people actually watch what you’re doing, I hope it impacts other people to do it too.”
Kamara has traveled a few times outside the country with Right to Play, an organization which “impacts the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace” according to their website and said one of his favorite trips working with them was in 2007 when, along with a group of Olympic athletes, he traveled to Liberia.
Sporting KC's leading goal scorer also gives back on his own when no one’s looking or watching.
“When I was in Houston I would visit the cancer hospital there once a week,” Kamara said. “It was like, it was part of me, I clicked with the kids so much there. To this day I still talk to a few of them on the phone, we’re still friends. I made sure that, at least once a week, I’d drive by and go over there to say hello. It was one of those things where, maybe no one knows about it, but I loved being a part of.”
So, it should come as no surprise when the documentary made about Kamara and his life is used to help better the lives of others.
Kamara said his birthday wish, along with getting three points and a birthday goal, is that his fans come out and enjoy the evening with him.
“It’s going to be a good birthday,” Kamara said. “I hope at the end of the movie, for people to realize what these people are actually trying to raise some funds for so we can build schools for kids in villages in Africa and Sierra Leone. It’s something Kansas City can be a part of.”