Yesterday, FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper scored two goals in two minutes on his way to embarrassing the David Beckham-led L.A. Galaxy 4-0 in Frisco. Today comes word that Cooper, a beloved native son, may have played his last game for the Hoops.
Really, you can’t blame him. Norway’s Rosenborg wants him for $2 million, with incentives that could take the final transfer price up to $3 million, ESPN.com is reporting. Now Cardiff City from the English Championship is in pursuit, and has done Rosenberg one better by offering $4 million. Cooper’s salary would be around $1 million a year.
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Cooper says he’d rather stay in Dallas, but considering that he’s making about $100,000 now, it’s hard to see why he would. (And, notes the South Wales Echo today: "He’s keen to play in Europe and the choice right now is clear – Cardiff City or Norwegian club Rosenborg, who have qualified for European football.") Major League Soccer is offering a new package worth about $300,000 annually, with incentives that would take it to $400,000, according to ESPN.com.
The possible transfer comes at a time in which the 23-year-old is starting to turn heads on the national level. This year the MLS All-Star is one of the league’s leading scorers, and there has been talk of moving him up to the national team. Some see him as the one thing the U.S. Men’s National team has always lacked: an elite striker who has speed, durability and strength to fight for balls in the air and in the box. In other words, he’s no Landon Donovan who can get pushed around by bigger and stronger players in the international game.
In all likelihood, going abroad will only make Cooper better, but if the deal goes through it will be a huge blow for FC Dallas. A Jesuit grad, Cooper is the heart and soul of the team and, for the last year, has been its public face. It’s not everyday that you get a homegrown star to lead your franchise, but for now, it seems like the Hoops may have to look elsewhere. --Jesse Hyde