During the 2013 preseason, rampant optimism reigned among FC Dallas faithful. In a few short weeks, FCD acquired Eric Hassli and Kenny Cooper. If you remember, Hassli was a swing for the rafters, coming off of an injury but showing in the past a penchant for creative scoring. Cooper was different, traded from New York after knocking in an amazing 18 goals that season with Thierry Henry's help. If Hassli had been the only incoming striker, fans might have tempered their excitement, but bringing Kenny back, who knocked in 40 goals from 2006-2009 in MLS with FC Dallas, seemed a rare, gutsy move from the franchise. However that year, Cooper would only give the team 31 appearances and 6 goals.
Here's what fans can remember from 2013 - Cooper's passion was there even if his goal scoring touch was not. I still lovingly remember the big goal against Houston, Cooper pulling his shirt off in pure joy in front of a raucous crowd. But you can also argue that Schellas Hyndman never figured out how to use Cooper, putting him out on the right wing, lowering his output and effectiveness.
Cooper made a single appearance in the Amway Canadian championship in 2015 after being waived by the Seattle Sounders and picked up by the Montreal Impact. In the first half, he picked up a serious injury to his knee and underwent surgery, ending his season. We hope Cooper is back in good health regardless of his future, but let's make a case for why his presence back with FCD could be beautiful.
1. He is a Texan.
As this picture indicates, Kenny grew up in Dallas before spending a few years in the Manchester United youth system. At heart, he is a Texan. In fact, if he comes back, could FCD petition the league to let him play while wearing a cowboy hat?
2. FC Dallas could use the forward depth with a jam-packed schedule in 2016.
Cooper would be great veteran depth for this team. Even at 31, he has a few years of good soccer left in him. He could be this team's Alan Gordon, another big body to throw in late in games alongside Tesho Akindele. This team needs that, unless Walker Zimmerman has cornered the market on that role.
3. Kenny Cooper should finish his career where it started.
He would make a great club ambassador once he retires and a great spokesman for the beautiful game in the DFW metroplex.
4. Living in Canada is highly overrated.
Just imagine this - living north of the border. I think Canada is a great place, but seriously, compared to the States? FC Dallas should consider this an act of charity too.
5. Kenny Cooper also has the build, strength, and poise to don Tex Hooper's suit and delight children all across Texas and Oklahoma.
Think about it. You can't have a short Tex Hooper, and their last names are only a single letter away.
6. Kenny might take a pay cut.
If FC Dallas can lock him up for three years or so at a much lower figure, Cooper would just make great sense for fans. Plus, I have a Cooper t-shirt that I bought mere weeks before FC Dallas released him, so I wouldn't be so ashamed from wearing it on occasion.
7. Makes for a great partnership with Cooper Tires.
He could start every game carrying one or two Cooper tires onto the field as a special brand placement to boost FC Dallas' bottom line. One lucky fan gets to take the tire home after the game, signed by Kenny himself.
Can you think of other reasons to bring Kenny Cooper home?
The verdict: I don't seriously anticipate him being brought back to FC Dallas, although I would love to see what Oscar Pareja could do with the big lug. It ultimately comes down to whether FC Dallas thinks Max Urruti is going to be their No. 1 striker or if he is the veteran depth they wanted. If a DP striker is coming, Cooper doesn't make a lot of sense. If not, you could do a lot worse than Cooper, who has proven that he can be quiet capable of contributing a stream of goals if not poorly used on the field.