Columbus Crew SC today announced that it has acquired forward Ola Kamara (pronounced: O-lah kuh-MAR-uh) as a Discovery Signing. Kamara, 26, joins Crew SC after having last played for Molde FK in the Norwegian topflight on loan from FK Austria Wien. Kamara will be added to the Black & Gold roster following receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa and will occupy an international roster spot.
Kamara has notched a total of 74 professional goals across all competitions throughout his time in Europe, including four double-digit goal campaigns. During the 2015 season, he played for Molde in the Tippeligaen, where he registered 14 goals over 29 appearances. With Molde, he also made four appearances in UEFA Champions League qualification, scoring four goals, including a brace on July 14, 2015 against Pyunik Erevan.
“We have been tracking Ola for quite some time and we are pleased to welcome him to Crew SC,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. “Adding a player of his caliber makes our squad stronger as we continue to prepare for the 2016 Major League Soccer season. Not only does he bring a different attacking profile to our club, but his scoring record and past production speaks for itself. We are confident that he has a bright future with Columbus."
Prior to joining Molde, Kamara made appearances for five other clubs across Europe, including Austria Wien, TSV 1860 München, Strømsgodset, Hønefoss and Stabaek. He began his career at Stabaek at the age of 16 in 2006. After a loan spell at Hønefoss, he joined Strømsgodset ahead of the 2009 season and established himself as a perennial scoring threat.
Kamara's breakout campaign came in 2010 with Strømsgodset, where he scored seven goals and added three assists in 25 Norwegian topflight appearances. He made two appearances in that season's Norwegian Cup, including a start in the final on November 14, 2010, where he scored a goal as part of a 2-0 victory. The following season, in 2011, he built on his success to notch 10 goals with three assists in 30 appearances. In 2012, he scored a then-career-high 12 goals with four assists, including back-to-back hat tricks on June 24, 2012 against Rosenborg BK and June 30, 2012 against Hønefoss.
Following the 2012 season, Kamara signed with Austrian club SV Ried, but was immediately loaned to German side TSV 1860 München, where he made 10 appearances in the 2. Bundesliga to finish the 2012-13 season. He then rejoined Strømsgodset, scoring 12 goals in 14 league appearances, including two hat tricks. He helped the club finish as Tippeligaen champions.
Kamara then joined FK Austria Wien in the Austrian Bundesliga, where he made 23 appearances over parts of two seasons with the club. In 2015, he returned to the Tippeligaen with Molde, notching another double-digit goal campaign.
Internationally, Kamara has earned seven senior National Team caps for Norway, with his debut coming on October 11, 2013 in a FIFA World Cup qualification contest against Slovenia. He has scored one goal for his country, in an international friendly on January 15, 2014 against Moldova. Prior to his senior experience, Kamara played for Norway at the youth level.
Following Kamara's signing, and pending the receipt of International Transfer Certificates for Ola Kamara and Amro Tarek as well as a P-1 Visa for Kamara, Crew SC's roster currently stands at 26:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Steve Clark, Brad Stuver
DEFENDERS (10): Harrison Afful, Corey Ashe, Chad Barson, Sergio Campbell, Waylon Francis, Hector Jimenez, Michael Parkhurst, Gaston Sauro, Amro Tarek, Tyson Wahl
MIDFIELDERS (11): Ethan Finlay, Romain Gall, Federico Higuain, Emil Larsen, Cedrick Mabwati, Justin Meram, Mohammed Saeid, Rodrigo Saravia, Ben Swanson, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp
FORWARDS (3): Conor Casey, Kei Kamara, Ola Kamara
The Black & Gold continue their preseason with their first camp in Lakewood Ranch, Florida through February 5. After that camp, Crew SC trains at SuperKick from February 8-12 before departing to participate in the Desert Diamond Cup from February 15-27. The Black & Gold begin their 21st season on Sunday, March 6 at Portland and return home for the Opening Match at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, March 12 against Philadelphia. Single-match tickets for available sections at all Black & Gold regular-season home matches in 2016 are set to go on sale to the general public on Friday, February 5 at 10:00 a.m. ET. Tickets will be available through ColumbusCrewSC.com, by calling a Crew SC ticket representative at 614-447-2739 or by visiting Ticketmaster.com.
TRANSACTION: Columbus Crew SC acquired forward Ola Kamara as a Discovery Signing on February 4, 2016. He will be added to the Black & Gold’s active roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa. Kamara will occupy an international roster spot.
Name: Ola Kamara (O-lah kuh-MAR-uh)
Born: October 15, 1989 in Oslo, Norway
Hometown: Oslo, Norway
Acquired: Acquired as a Discovery Signing on February 4, 2016. He will be added to the Black & Gold’s active roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa. Kamara will occupy an international roster spot.
Previous Experience: Molde FK (2015), FK Austria Wien (2014-2015), Strømsgodset (2013, 2009-2012), TSV 1860 München (2013), SV Ried (2013-2014), Hønefoss (2007), Stabaek IF (2006-2008)