Kenny Cooper is heading back to his old stomping grounds.
Cooper enjoyed arguably the most successful spell of his career in Dallas between 2006 and '09, where he scored 40 goals in 90 appearances, earned a 2008 MLS Best XI nod and broke into the US national team.
“We’re really excited to have Kenny Cooper back in Dallas,” FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman said in a statement. “When I first became the coach at FC Dallas, Kenny was our striker. ... He is a proven goalscorer, a Dallas boy returning home to his roots. Kenny is a leader with exceptional character.”
Cooper is coming off an impressive season in which he scored 18 goals for the Red Bulls, but came under criticism from Thierry Henry and Hans Backe for his style of play. He spent the 2011 season with Portland after a tough stint in Europe with 1860 Munich and Plymouth Argyle, but struggled to adapt there, scoring eight goals over the season.
The move comes on the heels of Dallas' acquisition earlier Monday of French Designated Player striker Eric Hassli from Toronto FC, giving Dallas two big forwards to partner Panamanian goal-getter Blas Pérez up top. In addition to the acquisitions, the team waived Brazilian forward Pipico, who was signed at the beginning of January.
Meanwhile, the clear-out continues in New York with Cooper's departure. The veteran becomes the 16th player from the 2012 roster to depart this offseason, but his high cap number gives the Red Bulls room to work with.
“Due to salary cap restrictions and in order to balance our squad now and in the future, we have very reluctantly traded Kenny," Red Bulls sporting director Andy Roxburgh said in a statement. "The allocation money combined with the salary cap relief that we obtained will be vital for us to strengthen the squad in specific areas. Kenny, who is a great professional as well as an excellent person to work with, has been a very good member of our roster and we wish him every success with the next phase of his playing career."
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