BRENT LATHAM - Friday, July 31, 2009
FC Dallas and US national team striker Kenny Cooper has completed his long-awaited transfer back to Europe after three and a half seasons with the Hoops.
The 24-year old will join 2. Bundesliga club 1860 Munich following a medical examination. The southern German team is the former home of previous USMNT players Gregg Berhalter and Josh Wolff.
"As we all know, Kenny is the consummate professional; a great player on the field and a great ambassador for the sport of soccer off the field," FC Dallas general manager Michael Hitchcock said in a press release. "With this transfer, Kenny will have an opportunity to return to Europe which is something he wanted."
Cooper has wanted away from Dallas for years, since completing a transfer to MLS from Manchester United in 2006. Interest from teams across Europe peaked after an eighteen goal season in 2008.
According to a source close the player, a deal with Norwegian team Rosenberg fell through last year after MLS refused to agree on a transfer deal without forcing the player to sign over his FIFA mandated ten percent of the fee.
Bristol City of England's Coca-Cola Championship was hot on the trail of the striker after Cooper's Gold Cup performance, in which he scored two goals in limited action as the US finished runners-up to Mexico.
YA's source says that with the Bristol City deal snagged by MLS' renewed refusal to let the player keep the FIFA-mandated ten percent, 1860 swept for Cooper by upping the offer to the point it made sense for Cooper to sign the ten percent over to the league, leaving Cooper Germany bound.
With Cooper set to become a free agent after next year, FC Dallas was also anxious to cash in on the striker before his value began to drop.
"From a timing standpoint, it was critical that we finalized a deal in this transfer window," Hitchcock said. "So as much as we all would have loved to have Kenny Cooper here for the stretch run of the '09 season, it was the right time for Kenny and it was the right time for FC Dallas."
Cooper scored 40 goals in 90 MLS games, including seven this year, since moving to the Lone Star state before the 2006 campaign.
He was named the Hoops' most valuable player in 2008.