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No Deal for Cooper

Rosenborg and Cardiff City wanted him, but it appears they are not going to get him.

Said FC Dallas GM Michael Hitchcock: "We received offers from multiple international clubs for Kenny Cooper during this transfer window, but we elected to decline them all. The international interest is a credit to Kenny, FC Dallas and the ever increasing talent level in Major League Soccer. Winning championships is our priority, and we feel strongly that Kenny will continue to be an important part of our success as we compete for the MLS Cup this year and in the future."

We've heard the transfer offers were for more than $3.5 million. If that was the case, did FCD make the correct decision?

By Steve Goff  |  July 29, 2008; 4:38 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Comments

Yes, they should keep him. Why dump all the valuable players every time they seem to grow one of them.

Posted by: td | July 29, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

That depends on how Cooper feels about staying. Is this going to become another Twellman/Joseph situation? Is Dallas going to have to deal with their most important offensive player being unhappy for the rest of the season? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then it was a bad decision.

Posted by: Kenobi | July 29, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Was this an FC Dallas decision or a mutual decision between FrankenCoop and Dallas?

I figure Coop is pretty pi$$ed right about now, but on the bright side if he keeps showing well, he'll get looks from better clubs in the future. Except he still wont be called to play for the national team

Posted by: TommyT | July 29, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

With all the challenges of the churning roster, new coach, etc...I can understand why FC Dallas would do what they did...but it really feels like they pulled the rug out from under Cooper. I just have to wonder what the effect on the locker room will be.

Posted by: BellusLudas | July 29, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Is he going to re-sign with MLS or play out his contract and leave on a free transfer?

Posted by: Mark | July 29, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. I wonder if this another Twellman situation. He sure looked like he was ready to go at the AS game and after Sunday's match when he snagged the game ball from the referee I thought for sure he was taking it as a souvenir from his last ever MLS match. When is his contract up? If it's at the end of the season then MLS isn't going to get any transfer fee if he is out of contract and goes on a free. As long as he continues to perform well I could see him jumping ship during the January window.

How much was the Altidore transfer fee? $3.5m seems a little paltry given that Cooper is a solid performer and known quantity while Altidore is just a prospect. Would Cooper have had work permit issues at Cardiff since he hasn't played much for the national team? Or does his father's nationality get him a pass?

Posted by: Glenn | July 29, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

This may work out in the long run, with a better club...

Posted by: RK | July 29, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

MLS needs to start paying better and retaining good players if it ever hopes to be anything more than a sideshow in the U.S.

I say keep Kenny. Keep Twellman. Keep Adu and Altidore (too late, I guess) and keep everyone else we can keep so we can grow this league into something that captures the attention of soccer fans in this country.

Posted by: scott47a | July 29, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

So why then did DCU agree to sell Perkins? Is "winning championships" NOT "our priority"?

I had understood that DCU had no ability to block the sale, that it was all up to MLS. But I gather that was incorrect, as Dallas has done just that.

So doesn't this goalkeeping debacle fall entirely on Payne et al.? They shouldn't have let Perkins go unless and until DC had a viable, proven starter set to replace him.

Posted by: mjk | July 29, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

3rddegree is reporting (via Tobias Lopez) that HSG has thrown about enough $ at KCJ that would be him near (but not at) DP level ($415k). That is Twellman type money - for a young man whose home is Dallas, and whose Daddy has connections, maybe it makes sense to play another 2-3 years on that fat contract and get into the WC roster leading up to the big qualifiers and into WC 2010. Then perhaps a good showing in the run up and/or in the actual WC means a transfer to a bigger team (no disrespect to Rosenborg) such as an EPL or Bundesliga side.... purely speculation or course.

Posted by: El Pichichi | July 29, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Winning Championship??? What have they won lately and losing all the other players, they really think they are going to compete this year for the MLS Cup. Please, send Cooper where he wants to go and be done with it.
Let the players play overseas if they want. If we had the resources they had, we could keep players here, but we don't.

Posted by: DP | July 29, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I hope Cooper got a raise but I'm glad he's staying. He can still go play in Europe again in the future if someone makes a good enough offer.

MLS credibility takes a hit each time a rising young star leaves in midseason.

Yesterday's temperature in Dallas was 105. He wouldn't be able to bask in that kind of warmth in Norway or Wales!

Posted by: garbaggio | July 29, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Absolute wrong decision!

Posted by: Johnny | July 29, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that MLS' credibility takes a hit when guys leave for more money. It's totally their right to pursue a contract and their job wherever they choose and can get paid to do so.

It's a slap in the face though, that lower division teams in England and small leagues in Scandanavia can offer our talent more money than MLS ever could. I'm not saying MLS should be giving Cooper or some of our other solid contributors $1 million per year just yet.

But - if Don Garber and the league brass aren't seeing the effect of net exports, then I hope he's spending those transfer fees on some SOLID pipelines in Latin America.

Posted by: Virginia Blue Blood | July 29, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Good move. They had to plug a hole in the dam if Toja is going to play for FC Dracula.

Posted by: AM | July 29, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Pure opinion, but when a guy like Toja leaves it means a lot less than when an American player bred in MLS leaves, so purely as a symbol, I like seeing him here at least through the end of the year.

Posted by: Logan Circle | July 29, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Holding Kenny Cooper to his signed contract when he wants to play elsewhere is high-tech slavery.

Posted by: Sepp Blatter | July 29, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

$3.5 million? The correct decision? Is that the question? Maybe these are better questions: How much of the fee would have gone to FCD? Who could they have added to their roster instead that would have been as productive? Under the salary cap restrictions, even the entire sum wouldn't help FCD that much. They couldn't get anyone that would command that kind of fee. I guess they don't have a DP anymore, but who could they get with their share of the fee? What kind of signal would that send to their fans?

It's a tough situation, to be sure. Especially for the players. If someone is good enough to play abroad, the national team fan in each of us supports the idea that they be allowed to go. However, the MLS fan in each of us also recognizes that the league is a fragile concept right now. Teams have to show loyalty to fans, even if not to players -- they have to offer the best possible product possible.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | July 29, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

They killed Kenny! The #$%&*@! bastards!

Posted by: Stan | July 29, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

When a player leaves while under contract, does he see any of the transfer fee or is he just rewarded through a contract with his new club?

Posted by: tim | July 29, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if I am wrong, but players typically receive 5-10 percent of a transfer fee.

Posted by: Slippery Slope | July 29, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

It really depends on what Kenny wants. I understand he was only making $80,000 a year before this transfer tempest, so I hope that he has gotten a significant bump up in salary.

Posted by: Bill in Md. | July 29, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Previous poster raised a good point about how much of the transfer fee would have been received by Dallas.

I probably would have taken it if I was running FC Dallas, but the Hunt's have a lot of money and have clearly demonstrated that they are interested in the long-term success of soccer in Dallas and the US in general.

I also think it would be a different story if Cooper had complained, like Twellman has.

Posted by: Nick | July 29, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Great move for Dallas and great move for American soccer fans.

Posted by: Todd | July 29, 2008 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Under the CBA, players get 10% of the transfer fee.

If MLS wants to retain top American talent, they need to pay Americans top salaries.

Posted by: Beloved Cartoon Mouse | July 29, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Lots of confusion here...

mjk:

DC United had a good, not great keeper in Perkins. He told the club he wanted to go abroad. I'm sure they knew that meant sell him now while there's money to be made, or let him sit out his contract and choose between having to re-sign him at a higher salary than he's worth or watch him leave for nothing. It's also worth mentioning that telling Perkins he had to stay would probably not gone over particularly well morale-wise.

Logan Circle:

Cooper is not an MLS-bred player. He was under contract longer with Manchester United than he has played in MLS.

Fisch Fry:

I believe SG has indicated that MLS teams get something in the range of 75% of transfer fees (that's the portion we got for Perkins). That means Dallas would have gotten just over $2.6 million. I also am pretty sure some portion of transfer fees received can be used like allocation money, in that it can be used to extend your salary cap (I think the ceiling is some particular amount but I can't remember). So, Dallas could have used that money to pay a pretty big (for MLS, anyway) transfer fee as well as stretch their cap to accommodate the hypothetical player's high wages.

tim:

Generally speaking, players can get up to 10% of the transfer fee. This can be waived or changed in negotiations, naturally, but 10% is usually the figure involved. So, Cooper could well be missing out on $350K (or, if el pichichi is correct, just under 1 year's salary).

***

Is it the right decision? It's a tough one, since we don't know whether Cooper is happy here or is at home throwing darts at pictures of FCD executives. The rumor is that he wants to play Premiership soccer, since he spent so much time in England (someone asked whether he could get a work permit...his father is English, so he is an EU player for all intents and purposes). Playing at Cardiff would give him plenty of exposure to Premiership coaches in a country he's comfortable in. Rosenborg normally offers Champions League soccer (8 of the past 9 seasons), but actually only placed 5th in Norway last year and offer absolutely no European soccer whatsoever this season, which might have also played a factor in Cooper staying.

Posted by: Chest Rockwell | July 29, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

FCD would have had tons of explaining to do to their fans and supporters regarding their intentions this season (and their intentions in general) if they let Cooper go. He is one of FCD's best chances to finally win something this decade. Hyndman has just begun working to put together a good team. If Cooper had left, FCD would have needed to turn around and find a new guy just like Cooper in addition to patching the other holes they are working hard to fill. With Cooper on the team, there is a shot at getting a result this year. Without him, the owners would have filled their pockets with cash (yes, we know it's a business), and hoped for a better future on the pitch "someday." Dallas has missed out on being truly successful (cups and shields) in the game of soccer year after year. Keeping Cooper is the right move if FC Dallas wants to win and invest in becoming something bigger as a football club in the long term (and hopefully even the short term). That being said, now it is time to pay Cooper what he deserves and build him into the star he is proving to be.

Posted by: UnitedFanInTX | July 29, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Chest,

Still find it hard to justify selling Perkins with no solid replacement available at the most important position. I forget when his contract would have expired, but even if it was after this season, they would then have had more than a year to find his successor. Instead they have a USL2 level keeper. Hard to justify that, even it would have meant that Perkins was unhappy for a year. He took that risk when he signed up with MLS.

Posted by: mjk | July 29, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

What I hope to hear soon is an announcement that FCD sign Frankencooper to a new contract extension at a significantly raised salary. The guy is making $83K base and approx $100K overall.

I think that would set up a win-win for club, player and the league with the following scenario:
1. Cooper finishes out this season, continues to play out of his mind, and the Schellas Hyndman Youth Movement Experience actually goes somewhere (not a requirement).

2. European clubs needing a scorer are even more hot for Cooper during the winter transfer period.

3. Copper gets sold for even more cash.

4. FCD, Cooper and MLS all smell like roses and generate more fan pride, more league respect, and more money for all considered.

Posted by: RP | July 29, 2008 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Actually Mr. Mouse, MLS players do not get anything from the transfer fee. MLS puts that in their contracts that they don't get it. And mjk, Wells has certainly struggled this year, but to call him a USL2 keeper is simply juvenile.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | July 29, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

nope! kenny cooper and taylor twellman should form a tandem of scorned coca cola championship strikers

Posted by: diego r. | July 29, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Sonic, have you even watched wells this season? You may disagree with my characerization of wells as USL2 quality but to call the suggestion "juvenile" is absurd. He is, without question, the worst starting keeper in MLS, and indeed the worst in recent memory. Saying he's performed well enough to be a professional starter in any league is perhaps generous. Would it be "juvenile" to suggest he's USL1 material? Oh yeah totally out of line to compare him to USL2 keepers. Give a break dude

Posted by: mjk | July 29, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Some thoughts on Cooper.

I don't see the Championship in England as a step up, particularly where MLS is going in the next couple of years.

I don't think he should resign or extend his contract past the 2 remaining years he has now. Thats what Twellman did and he was not a happy camper when the Revs said no.

Cooper is still pretty young. He should play another year or two and then move to a bigger club in Europe - Come on Cardiff City isn't exactly the big time!!!

Posted by: Nick from Big Soccer | July 29, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

@ Nick
The Championship offers more matches, more money, and increased expectations (especially if the team is chasing promotion). Cooper will have to prove that he's worthy of playing time, in contrast to MLS, where having Man United Reserves on your CV guarantees it.

I agree though, that a big difference is that he's younger than Twellman and this situation represents an opportunity deferred rather than denied.

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | July 29, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

re: Rosenborg normally offers Champions League soccer (8 of the past 9 seasons), but actually only placed 5th in Norway last year and offer absolutely no European soccer whatsoever this season, which might have also played a factor in Cooper staying.

Rosenborg qualified for the UEFA Cup this past weekend via the final year of the Intertoto Cup. They'll be in the draw for the UEFA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round this Friday.

Posted by: TH | July 29, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Lots of great T-shirt quality one and two liners on here today!
I'm happy to see him stay in Dallas where he is making a heck of a mark. Great season so far, and a pretty good role model for younger guys in the team to boot!
El Pichipichi sounds like a solid agent with his speculative timeline, and Scott47a echos similar feelings I have on Kenny. Letting all these guys go at the first scratch at the door can't be smart. Sure the league needs money, but not at the expense at every American coming into solid form.
Kenny Cooper's value is not going to drop by staying in MLS for a while longer and heating up the Golden Boot race! I am sure Dallas and the league are going to have to fork over some scrilla to "ease" the pain, and for good reason.
Things are just starting to get interesting in MLS this season and besides guys like Twellman should only excel from the adversity that's thrown their way. If anybody should pull up their pants and act like men it's the real talents in the US that have an incredible opportunity to step onto the national stage as the spotlight starts to swing this way across the Atlantic.

Posted by: Dadryan | July 29, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Hey Goff, do you know if they are going to be watching the Bolivia vs. Guatemala Friendly to spot some talent? Most likely right? Given the tie to bolivar, 2 of their best will be playing too.

Posted by: Bolivian DC Fan | July 29, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

mjk, a guy who has been in the league for 5 years, and has been called in to a USMNT camp is not a third division talent. You don't like the term juvenile? Fine, how about asinine instead?

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | July 29, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of breaking the trend of talented, young(ish) Americans getting sold and replacing them with past-their-prime, put-butts-in-seats veterans of the international game.

Posted by: Glaucon | July 29, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse

Chest -- I believe it's a 2-1 split on fees, unless that's changed this year. In any case, it's not that FCD turned their back on $3 million. They did turn away at least $2 million, though. My larger point, though, was who could they bring in with that money that would be more productive? If Cooper were playing in another league, he'd command a much higher fee. Which brings me to the comment that someone else posted here about the Championship not being a step up from MLS -- I say rubbish: Unfortunately, the Championship is a big step up. We should get there someday, but we're not there yet.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | July 29, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Here's another way to look at this (the Cooper-"Not for Sale" decision). If you're FCD, do you want to make Franken-Coop your DP? Because that's basically what this decision comes down to.

I don't know. He's a good young player who, when healthy, has had an impact in MLS. And he's local with Dallas ties. That said, I felt about him like I felt about Gomez--a really good MLS player but not someone I'm willing to not only make my DP but also foreclose signing a major contributor (imagine if Shevchenko becomes available or in FCD's case, Edgar Davids).

But I don't think that's why the decision was made. I think Hyndman was comfortable selling Cooper (would like to keep him but figured this is a rebuilding year of sorts and selling Cooper means major allocation money plus a DP slot that is open). But Hitchcock the GM is supposed to be on the hotseat to sell tickets. That is supposedly the reason that Morrow was canned--a few losses and seats are filling so Hitchcock fired him. I think if the team loses Cooper (Toja not so much) than they really tank this year in terms of record and ticket sales so Hitchcock would be toast. So I think they made this decision for the wrong reason.

Posted by: JoeW | July 29, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I reiterate. Any team that sells a player for a certain price should be alloted a DP slot. Among other things it will allow teams to be able to afford good young talent from abroad while developing the american pool. (DCUMD)

Posted by: lprevolution | July 29, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Coop finishes the year and his value rises. Maybe gets the golden boot and more exposure. It's all about the money.

Posted by: Chas | July 29, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

someone else posted here about the Championship not being a step up from MLS -- I say rubbish: Unfortunately, the Championship is a big step up. We should get there someday, but we're not there yet.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | July 29, 2008 9:30 PM
=======================

Using words like "Rubbish" is a step in that direction. Or is that bollocks?

Posted by: I-270, Exit 1 | July 29, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I think if the team loses Cooper (Toja not so much) than they really tank this year in terms of record and ticket sales so Hitchcock would be toast. So I think they made this decision for the wrong reason.

Posted by: JoeW | July 29, 2008 9:37 PM
---------------------------------------------

Since when did winning games and attracting fans become bad reasons for personnel decisions?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

This guy should be starting for our national team and should be playing in the olympics. Not accepting 3.5mil dollars for Cooper is fantastic. This is not enough for a player of his quality. 7.5 to 10 mill pounds at least.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 29, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

This is a great move by Dallas for Dallas, but it is not a move in the best interest of the player. Kenny would have tripled or bettered his salary in MLS, so he has got to be a bit upset. Playing daily in the Championship is a bigger challange than playing in MLS, simple because the level of every player is higher, and exposure via the FA Cup, Carling Cup and other tournaments would expose him to a much better level of competition.

Dallas had better hope that he doesn't develop a nagging injury or worse yet a poor attitude.

Posted by: denz | July 29, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Yeah I agree with that.
Gotta give that Dope a name before you really market it...
GO USA!

Posted by: Dadryan | July 29, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Good move for Dallas? Only if KC's going to be around for the "re-building". Otherwise take the money. Good move for KC's career? Short term, no...both were decent clubs, at a higher level of competition (like it or not, stop deluding yourselves), and would help him both get better and be a bigger force in the international game. MLS looks good because they would have let him go to pursue his interests, unlike Twellman, but still now get to keep a good talent.

Posted by: C. Hawk | July 29, 2008 11:57 PM | Report abuse

El Pichichi makes good points about why KCJr might sign on to a new contract. However there is another scenario...he could be the first MLS player to test the Webster ruling and buy himself out of his contract after 3 years (at the end of this season). Just saying...

Posted by: Pregame Pint | July 30, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Terrible idea (assuming KC didnt ask to stay). Good player but not worth a DP slot.

Sends a bad signal to younger players (along with the twellman thing) and i predict a lot more players will be reluctant to sign non short term deals (so they can leave on frees if the opportunity arises).

until the league gets better it's just the nature of the jungle. dallas could really use the money and allocation cash to improve the team. they basically could have traded one piece for 3 pieces with the cash.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 12:57 AM | Report abuse

what exactly went down? last we heard there were two offers for $3-4 million. both offers presented a major step up in quality of play and salary. both offers were accepted by MLS. Cooper was in the process of negotiating salary and choosing which team. then the Dallas GM cancels it. how can the league accept (presumably with the teams ok) and then the team deny after negotiations take place? that's some sketchy dealing by MLS.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Referring to D.C. letting Perkins go last winter. Kevin Payne told troy that he would never make top dollar bring a goalie for Them because They did not value goalies that much. After that statement Perkins told them he wanted to leave! Why should our players stay here if they can get more money and play in a much more professional atmosphere than they can get elsewhere. Perkins got lucky to find VIF, and now they feel lucky to have him!

Posted by: soccerfan | July 30, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Referring to D.C. letting Perkins go last winter. Kevin Payne told troy that he would never make top dollar bring a goalie for Them because They did not value goalies that much. After that statement Perkins told them he wanted to leave! Why should our players stay here if they can get more money and play in a much more professional atmosphere than they can get elsewhere. Perkins got lucky to find VIF, and now they feel lucky to have him!

Posted by: soccerfan | July 30, 2008 10:39 AM
--------------------
This is the type of thing I've heard from players many times over about KP. He is not a good player manager. He should focus on getting us a stadium, another task at which he's been a failure to date.

Posted by: Not KP | July 30, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm pretty sure Dallas would only get to spend $500,000 on salary or transfers, so from a competitive standpoint, it's great; they're not going to get anyone as good as KCJr for 500k. I am happy for Kenny to stay IF it's what he wants, otherwise this is another black eye for FCD in the locker room, and I've heard (100% unsubstantiated) rumblings of testing the Webster-rule waters after the season.

Posted by: Will | July 30, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

best decision, and probably the only good one that Dallas has made. They are virtually unbeatable if he scores. His touch and pace are very much lacking from a national team level but he is great for MLS

Posted by: bristol | July 30, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

So why then did DCU agree to sell Perkins? Is "winning championships" NOT "our priority"?
======


Because he was a rubbish goalkeeper.

Posted by: bristol | July 30, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

So why then did DCU agree to sell Perkins? ======


Because he was a rubbish goalkeeper.

Posted by: bristol | July 30, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

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