FRISCO, Texas – Bernard Kamungo’s story just gets better and better.
Kamungo been called up to the U.S. Olympic National Team for its training camp in preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games. It’s another milestone in Kamungo’s unprecedented rise.
“It’s one of my dreams come true,” Kamungo said. “It’s a dream for me and my family to be called up to the U.S. national team and to be able to attend the camp. To play with all the guys out there, I can’t wait to be honest.”
Born in the Nyarugusu refugee camp in Tanzania, Kamungo and his family relocated to Abilene, Texas in 2016 with the help of the International Rescue Committee. There, Kamungo played high school soccer for four years before entering an open tryout for North Texas SC at the insistence of his older brother, Imani.
Kamungo’s talent was evident, and the 19-year-old was offered a pro contract with North Texas, FC Dallas’ reserve team. A year and a half later, Kamungo’s goals and performances earned him an MLS contract. Already, Kamungo’s journey was storybook worthy.
The 2023 season was supposed to be slow going for Kamungo as his acclimated to the speed and intensity of the U.S.’s top division. Kamungo didn’t get the memo and marked his home debut with a last-minute game-winning goal. Two months later, he scored another game-winner on his first start.
The 2023 Leagues Cup is when Kamungo captured the imagination of the wider American soccer audience. He’d already scored one goal and added three assists in the tournament before FC Dallas hosted Inter Miami – and Lionel Messi – in the quarterfinals.
Viewers around the world weren’t surprised when Messi opened the scoring with a trademark left-footed strike. But they didn’t expect what happened next. Kamungo, not even three years removed high school soccer, scored a goal of his own in the most high-profile game in FC Dallas history.
Kamungo is eligible for both Tanzania, the country of his birth, and the U.S., having become an American citizen in 2022. He joined up with Tanzania's senior team back in June but wasn't able to play in any games as he awaited his Tanzanian passport. With that experience under his belt, Kamungo said he's looking forward to learning more about the U.S. team's environment during his 10-day long stay. The U.S. Olympic team will train in Arizona before facing off against the U23 teams of Mexico and Japan later this month.
“Even when I came to FC Dallas, I just never thought that one day I'll become U.S. national team player, or just play for the U.S. national team,” he admitted. “All this stuff happening right now is just such a big dream, and I’ll remember it for my whole life.”
Kamungo will need to be at his best to be chosen for the U.S.’s final Olympic roster. It’s a tough benchmark. But knowing where he came from, what’s he’s been through to get where he is, don’t be surprised if you see him scoring for the Stars and Stripes in Paris next summer.