Kei Kamara isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet.
The 39-year-old striker, who’s third all-time in the MLS scoring chart (144 goals), expressed as much after Chicago Fire FC’s season ended with a 1-0 Decision Day defeat Saturday evening at New York City FC. He only trails Landon Donovan (145) and Chris Wondolowski (171) in the record book.
“I'm going to play another season in the MLS,” Kamara declared. “I'm not done yet, definitely. I think this is my last game for the club, so I'll be moving on. I'll play another season.
“I've enjoyed myself and representing this club and the things that we achieved this year playing with some of these younger players … it's been amazing for me and something I'm going to hold dearly to my heart.”
One day before the 2023 regular season began, Kamara joined Chicago in a trade from CF Montréal. That deal brought the former Sierra Leone international to his 10th MLS club, and he ultimately tallied 5g/2a in 27 games (1,520 minutes) while being named a 2023 MLS All-Star as a Commissioner's Pick.
Kamara would be eligible for MLS free agency this winter, and he’s adamant there’s plenty to give on and off the field.
“Definitely I enjoy scoring goals all the time,” Kamara said. “But I think if you guys have seen me around, the thing that means so much to me right now is what impact I give to the guys around me, how I push, whether it's the next striker, whether it’s the younger guys, to challenge them and what's going to push me to say, it's not done yet.”
Kamara’s only regret is not helping Chicago return to the playoffs after inconsistent form resulted in them finishing 13th in the Eastern Conference. The club last qualified for the postseason in 2017.
“You don't want to be in the position of hoping this happened, and hope this happened, and hope this happened,” Kamara said. “You want to be in control of your own destiny somehow when you come to this last part of the season and, now, unfortunately for us today it didn't work out how we wanted it to go.”