UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Trades are hardly ever finalized with all members involved thrilled by the circumstances.
But there was almost certainly a more ideal time for Kenny Cooper to learn he’d been dealt from the Portland Timbers to the New York Red Bulls earlier this month, considering he was on his honeymoon in Hawaii when he heard the word.
“It was a lot happening, obviously getting married,” he recently told MLSsoccer.com. “We had a great honeymoon, but I think my wife and I had a lot of mixed emotions. We had a great time in Portland, loved it there. It was an honor to be a part of their inaugural season in MLS and we will look back with a lot of fond memories.
“But I am really excited to be here with a team with a lot of talent.”
Cooper joins a loaded strike force that includes Thierry Henry, Luke Rodgers and Juan Agudelo, who all battled for the top spots in the lineup last year.
Now enter Cooper, who’s trying to regain the form he showed as an MLS All-Star in 2008, when he scored 18 goals for FC Dallas. He scored eight goals in 34 appearances for the Timbers last season after returning from an injury-plagued stint in Europe.
“I’m certainly hungry to play and train,” Cooper said. “I’m happy to be here and my mindset is to work hard. I want to make positive contributions to the team.”
Especially exciting for Cooper is the chance to play alongside the likes of Henry and Rafa Márquez as well as with the numerous internationals who dot the Red Bulls roster for head coach Hans Backe.
“Along with being a professional myself, I’m a huge fan of the game, and I certainly admire this team and the talent that’s in it,” he said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to train with these guys on a daily basis and work under Hans.
“Thierry, Rafa – they’ve obviously had incredible careers. I’m big fans of both of them. To train with both of these guys on a daily basis – along with a lot of these other guys in there – there’s a lot of talent in that locker room.”