New England's Kei Kamara scores first career MLS hat trick

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Ever since being traded from Columbus Crew SC to the New England Revolution amid controversy  last year, Kei Kamara has made no secret that he’s never quite settled into his new surroundings.

So as the Revs’ 2017 season came to a close, nearly 18 months removed from switching clubs, the question remained: Is he content with his current situation?

“It’s been really tough times for me here, and I have to be honest again,” Kamara said. “I’m finishing up a year with 12 goals and I don’t see myself as a 12-goal striker in this league. I want to be able to produce, I want to be in the postseason. That’s what you shoot for from the first day of preseason. So yeah, I’m not completely happy going into the offseason right now, saying this is how we finished up.”

They were blunt comments from the striker, who wrapped up this year as New England’s leading scorer, equalling his output of 12 goals from the 2016 season. But it’s also the second year running that Kamara – and the Revs, for that matter – finished one spot below the Eastern Conference’s playoff line, missing out on the postseason.

That’s a bitter pill for Kamara to swallow, who at various points throughout the 2017 campaign hinted at not quite gelling with Jay Heaps’ system. Heaps, however, was let go with five games left in New England’s season, possibly giving Kamara a fresh start of sorts.

Such aspirations never quite panned out, as the Sierra Leone native scored once in New England’s final eight games of the 2017 campaign and started just three of five games under interim head coach Tom Soehn.

So, just like he voiced openly this past summer, does Kamara want to stay in New England or head elsewhere?

“It’s hard, it’s hard to come at the end of the year and say the same things I said during the summer, that I’d like to be elsewhere,” Kamara said. “But right now, it’s tough to not to be in the playoffs. We still have to wait for the season to end and have to go into the offseason with a lot of thinking and see what’s really best for my career.”

At the very least, Kamara is open to exploring his options within Major League Soccer. As FourFourTwo’s Paul Tenorio reported in September, the 33-year-old is under contract for 2018, though via a team option. Should Kamara’s option not be picked up, he’d hit the free agent market with 103 goals across the regular season and playoffs in tow.

But at 33, just how much does Kamara have left to give? In his words, as much as his body will allow, and as long as it takes for him to win an MLS Cup.

“Got to win a championship, got to win a big championship,” Kamara said. “I’m 33 and don’t feel it, and obviously don’t show it on the field. I’ve been to lucky to have the career I’ve had and still continue to play. I still feel like there’s a lot in me that I can offer on the field and off the field.”