It sometimes seems like a script straight out of Hollywood, but Kei Kamara really lived it.
The Columbus Crew SC striker and 2015 MLS co-leading scorer narrowly escaped Sierra Leone's vicious civil war in his youth, beginning a meteoric rise that has taken him all the way to the MLS Cup final at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday (4 pm ET; ESPN, Watch ESPN, UniMás in the US; TSN, RDS2 in Canada).
Kamara sat down with VICE Sports this week to share his story, and even for those well-versed in his past, it's a worthwhile watch.
“It was difficult growing up in Sierra Leone,” he said. “As a kid you don't really know what the war is. Then you start losing family members, friends, waking up in the morning and seeing bodies on the ground.
“There was a moment in time where you really didn't know what was going to happen to you.”
The star explained his frantic route away from the war, and also discusses his goal celebrations and a 2015 campaign he calls the “best season of my career so far,” emphasizing one of his lasting lessons from his childhood brush with tragedy.
“I'm just really blessed to just be here and be in the US, playing soccer,” said Kamara. “It made me a better person … Why is it me, how did I get the chance to be where I'm at today? Growing up in America, playing in MLS, it's a dream come true.”