After leading the Vancouver Whitecaps with 14 goals in 2018, new head coach Marc Dos Santos made the decision not to bring back striker Kei Kamara. He wasn’t the only one, as Dos Santos looked for many new players to fit his preferred style of play.
Whether Dos Santos thought Kamara couldn’t fit into the new up-tempo system or for other reasons, he was not offered a new contract.
- Whitecaps co-owners say 'sorry' in open letter concerning abuse allegations
- Whitecaps' bulletproof brand has taken a hit in the last 12 months
- Whitecaps youth coach joined organization following racism allegations in England
Does Kamara believe he could play for Dos Santos?
“Yeah, definitely,” Kamara explained in an interview with Daily Hive. “I wasn’t going to send in my application to anyone to see what I’ve done. They know what I’ve done. I respect [Dos Santos’] decision. I check those boxes, but personally, I wasn’t the right guy for the job.”
A veteran of 323 MLS games, Kamara sits fifth all-time with 117 goals scored, yet he never heard from Dos Santos after he was named coach.
“I wish we had had a phone call, and we had talked,” Kamara said. “I appreciate [vice president of soccer operations Greg Anderson] calling me, and letting me know how the team was going to be going forward.”
Kamara left for Colorado, where he will face the Whitecaps for the first time on Friday night.
Vancouver is second from the bottom in scoring this season, with just seven goals in nine matches. Kamara already has five goals for the Rapids. Meanwhile, Kamara’s replacements -strikers Fredy Montero and Joaquín Ardaiz – have combined for just one goal.
“I wish I was still there,” Kamara said. “I wish I still played for that club. I wanted to see the growth. I hope it was a tough decision, but I move forward. That’s why I look forward to this game.”
While it didn’t work out with Whitecaps FC, Kamara says he enjoyed his time on the west coast.
“I have tons of love for Vancouver. I always will,” said Kamara. “The support that I was given it was amazing. The front office, the people, off the field, it was amazing.”
I don’t do it for the Record Books, I do it for my people who love seeing my name in the the Record Books. You are my biggest motivators. #ThankYou 🙏🙌
.#AmSoBlessed #HeartShapedHands #Elevate #Rapids96
(#1 super Agent @kevinweinress 🙏 ) pic.twitter.com/pd2imKGt3v
— KEI KAMARA (@keikamara) April 8, 2019
Despite Kamara’s proven ability as an MLS goal-scorer, Dos Santos is still comfortable with his decision.
“I think we took the right decision,” Dos Santos explained to reporters. “It has nothing to do with Kei scoring goals in the league. He’s going to score goals in the league. It’s not going to change. What we have to do as a club, is take action towards what we believe in, and what we want to do.”
The Rapids are a league-worst 0-7-2 this season – slightly worse than the Whitecaps who have begun the year with a 1-5-3 record. Colorado manager Anthony Hudson was sacked on Wednesday, and replaced by Conor Casey.
Something is going to have to give, and Kamara hopes it’s a win for the Rapids.
“We want to give our home supporters a win,” Kamara said. “It’s been a while since we have given them a win. Vancouver has already done that in their house. We’re going to put Vancouver under all sorts of pressure. We’ve been playing good soccer, and we’ve been unlucky. It’s going to be very very hard for them.”
There’s nothing more dangerous than a vengeful striker, and a team out to prove themselves to an interim coach. So the altitude won’t be the only challenge for the Whitecaps.