Sporting Kansas City and Kei Kamara have mutual interest in a reunion, coach Peter Vermes said Monday, but it won’t come this season — if at all.
Kamara and Middlesbrough FC announced an agreement Thursday to cancel his contract with the English club, but the former Sporting KC forward is not eligible for a return to Major League Soccer this season, according to Sal Della Monica, the league’s director of communications.
The termination of Kamara’s contract with Middlesbrough came after the MLS transfer window closed on Aug. 6, which means Kamara cannot appear in an MLS match until the 2015 season — even if he is no longer under contract with another club.
“We’re going to see how things take shape in the offseason, and a lot of that’s going to depend on what’s going on with the league, the CBA and all that stuff, so it’s really hard to comment,” Vermes said. “We have interest in him and many other players. It’s just going to depend on what the mechanism is.”
Kamara played with Sporting KC during 2009-13 and scored 38 goals. He led the team in scoring in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Vermes acknowledged that Kamara had expressed a desire to return to MLS — and specifically Sporting KC — but if Kamara rejoins the league next season, Sporting KC would not retain his rights. The club received a transfer fee when Kamara signed a two-year contract with Middlesbrough last September, thus forfeiting his future rights.
Instead, he would cycle through the league’s allocation process. Columbus currently owns the top spot in the allocation order, and Crew coach Gregg Berhalter told MLSsoccer.com on Friday he would take a look at Kamara, who turned 30 on Monday.
“I think he’s a very good player,” Berhalter told the website. “He’s proven to be an excellent player in this league, so he’s definitely someone who’s interesting.”
Sporting KC sits 16th in the allocation ranking, but it could make a trade to move up in the order.
The league has made exceptions to rules when welcoming incoming players in the past. It drew significant ire from fans when it announced last week that Jermaine Jones had been assigned to New England via a “blind draw.”
Vermes said that he doesn’t expect an exception to made for Kamara.
“They won’t bend the rules on something like this, because that’s a hard date,” Vermes said. “They’re not going to break that rule.”
There’s also the possibility that the rules could change by the time Kamara is eligible to rejoin MLS. The league’s collective bargaining agreement expires at the end of the season, and a new agreement could shape the way players join the league.
“It’s a hard world to navigate because you don’t know what the future looks like,” Vermes said. “It’s hard to have a vision because you don’t know what the rules are going to be.”
In the meantime, this season’s roster freeze goes into effect Sept. 15. Teams cannot make changes to their active full rosters after that date.
Kamara won’t be an option over the next two weeks. Neither will any other overseas transfers after the secondary window closed Aug. 6.
But might Sporting KC be interested in pursuing a trade before the Sept. 15 deadline?
“We’re always searching, man,” Vermes said. “We’re always searching. I don’t have anything concrete, but we’re always searching.”
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