Tuesday, February 07, 2006

FC Dallas signs Kenny Cooper; Is Eddie Johnson on the way out?

FC Dallas President and General Manager Michael Hitchcock happily announced the signing of Manchester United reserve forward Kenny Cooper (pictured) yesterday. This marks a homecoming of sorts for Cooper as he went to high school in the Dallas area (his dad also played for the Dallas Tornado organization).

Cooper had been with Manchester United, but never played for their first-team, however he was a regular in United's reserve team.

The interesting part of this deal is that Kansas City made a discovery claim for Cooper last year, meaning that they had first chance at him. However, they passed on him. Both sides are claiming that no money or other such agreement was made to KC to encourage this decision, but one has to wonder why they would pass on such a promising player.

No details of the contract were released, but chances are Cooper's contract, much like past American players to return after time in Europe, is on the lower end of the MLS pay scale, probably around the $35-70,000 mark. If this is true, and it might not be, then KC's move is even stranger. Why pass on a good player at such a low price? Could some "unofficial" deal have been struck between the two teams? Or might this have something to do with the teams having the same owner?

Anyway you cut it; this should increase the rumors on Eddie Johnson moving out of Dallas. FCD already have Johnson, Roberto Mina, Carlos Ruiz, Abe Thompson and Arturo Alvarez in the forward position, so simple numbers would suggest someone is leaving. With Johnson and Ruiz both collecting sizable paychecks and their lack of playing time last year, one has to turn an eye in their direction. However, his former club in Guatemala is still paying for part of Ruiz’s salary, so Johnson might just take the top trade spot.

Again, this is all speculation, but something has got to give and there have been talks of Johnson moving.

As far as Cooper, he comes to the team in good shape. Since the English season is over halfway done, it is safe to say he should be in game shape. As added incentive, he is still hoping to impress Bruce Arena enough to make the squad for Germany. This is a long shot, but it is also a great piece of motivation.

FC Dallas fans should be very happy about this move.

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