Offseason acquisition Kenny Cooper joined the New York Red Bulls Monday at training camp for the first time since the team acquired him from Portland on Jan. 12. The 6-foot-3 forward took part in a light workout on the pitch at Montclair State University and spent some time getting acquainted with his teammates, including former Dallas teammate Dax McCarty.
“Dax and I go back a long time. I think we both came into the league at the same time in Dallas and spent about three and a half years there together,” Cooper said. “Dax is, along with being a great player, a great guy and known to be a great teammate. So I’m excited to be in the same squad with him again. He’s been very welcoming, very helpful.”
Prior to his one-year stint with Portland, Cooper spent four seasons with FC Dallas from 2006 to 2009. In 2010, Cooper was transferred to TSV 1860 Munich, where he scored two goals over 14 games and watched his time in the German Bundesliga shrink due to injuries. The Baltimore native scored eight goals and added two assists in just one campaign with the Timbers last season and will aim to take a tireless work ethic with him into the team’s preseason trips through Mexico and Arizona.
“I’m definitely coming in here with a mindset to work hard and put the work in during this preseason and try to be a great professional every day,” said Cooper. “My hope is that that’ll translate into playing time and opportunities to be out their on the field come game days.”
Cooper first got word of the trade while on his honeymoon in Hawaii, five days after the Jan. 7 nuptials. He admits to feeling some mixed emotions surrounding the news, commenting that the fans and organization in Portland left a big impression on him in just the short time there. Nevertheless, he’s excited for the opportunity that awaits him on the east coast and hopes to share it with his family, who also live close by.
Like many players in the League, Cooper considers himself not only a professional athlete but also a fan of the game. Which is why playing alongside a guy like Thierry Henry has Cooper beyond excited to start the new season.
“I’m obviously a huge fan of his and a lot of other players in this team,” Cooper said. “I’m really excited to be here and have an opportunity to train with everyone on a daily basis and possibly play alongside some of these guys come game day.”
Click here for a full list of players who have checked into training camp. We'll continue to add more as they arrive.