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Sierra Leone’s Kei Kamara To Share His Inspiring Journey To Student-Athletes, Coaches And Staff, At The California Collegiate Athletic Association

CCAA Hall of Famer Kei Kamara joins the CCAA Speaker Series lineup to explain how he’s leveraged his professional athlete status to give back to his homeland. Originally slated for mid-March, Kamara will join the group next Wednesday, April at 21 p.m.

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Kamara’s story of life, sport and service to the global community is sure to resonate will all who attend, and his dedication to helping others exemplifies the conference’s value statement of community to the fullest. 

“Kei has an amazing and inspiring story to tell that I know will appeal to student-athletes, coaches and staff,” noted CCAA commissioner Mitch Cox.

2004 CCAA Player of the Year Kei Kamara’s story of resilience begins in war-torn Sierra Leone, West Africa. Kamara spent his childhood days like most African youngsters – playing soccer. By 1990, his mother left for the US and the country he so loved was in the middle of a bloody civil war. Fearing for their lives, Kamara and his family fled their home, eventually seeking refuge with his mom in 2000 in LA. After high school, Kamara starred at Cal State Dominguez Hills and after three years as a Toro, was drafted 9th overall by the Columbus Crew.

Now entering his 16th season in MLS, the striker has since become one of the league’s all-time leading scorers, where he ranks fifth. Kamara leverages his successes on the field to give back to his homeland, and in 2012 founded the HeartShapedHands Foundation to do just that. 

HeartShapedHands provides scholarships to schools and students in Sierra Leone, giving many students an education they otherwise might not have. Named after his signature goal celebration, the Foundation has allowed Kamara to follow his heart and use his hands to give back. 

Kamara is expected to address not only his life on the pitch, but how he came to form his Foundation and the importance of giving back. The 2015 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year will also discuss various ways people can find their passion to be humanitarians in their own lives. 

The Speaker Series has now hosted sessions on identity and leadership and mental health, and job and career search tactics. Other confirmed interactive experiences with experts in the fields of stand-up comedy and women in business in athletics on the schedule for the spring semester. Also, today at 4 p.m., a presentation on trans athletes in the era of disinformation will be offered, and registration is still available here.

All presenters were chosen to bring thoughtful discussion and dialogue to all those who participate in the series in the coming months. Along with live presentations, the series will also be available for replay on the CCAA’s youtube channel. We appreciate the support of our conference sponsors Samsung, Balfour, Hometown Ticketing, Candid Worldwide and Gearboss as we provide valuable programming to our 12 member-institutions.



The California Collegiate Athletic Association has been the nation’s most successful Division II intercollegiate athletic conference since its establishment in December 1938.

The 12-member league is home to some of the nation’s finest NCAA Division II athletic programs in Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State East Bay, Cal State LA, Cal State Monterey Bay, Cal State San Bernardino, Cal State San Marcos, Cal Poly Pomona, Chico State, Humboldt State, San Francisco State, Sonoma State, and Stanislaus State

CCAA members have won 154 NCAA Championships (102 men, 52 women) all time, far and away the most of any Division II conference. Since 2000, CCAA institutions have earned 22 national championships in 10 sports. During that span, eight members have earned at least one title highlighted by back-to-back championships for UC San Diego women’s soccer (2000, ’01) and Cal Poly Pomona women’s basketball (2001, ’02). In 2011, the Cal State Monterey Bay men’s golf team finished at the top of the national leaderboard while UC San Diego softball also clamed the NCAA crown, marking a memorable May. Most recently, Cal State San Bernardino volleyball ran the table to an undefeated season and hoisted the hardware in 2019.

This article was originally appeared  on CCAA and is published here for educational purpose


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