New Seattle Sounders forward Kenny Cooper scored 18 goals in 2012 with New York before falling off to six last season with Dallas.
Speaking to local media Thursday after signing a new contract, he was asked about that decline.
“In New York I played in a very, very good team,” he said. “We played in the playoffs that year, and I was fortunate enough to play with a hero of mine in Thierry Henry, who is in my opinion one of the greatest players ever to play the game. I believe I really benefited from playing alongside him and the other great players on that team.”
Cooper added that he sees a similar situation in Seattle, with goal scorers such as Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins on the roster.
“They’re both players that I really admire,” Cooper said. “Clint’s had an incredible career abroad, and also with the national team and MLS. I had an opportunity to meet him once at a camp, and I know he’s a great guy, and I’m looking forward to seeing him again. Him and Obafemi Martins, (central defender) Chad Marshall — there are just so many players on the team who are so talented and have so much great experience.”
Cooper, 29, ranks seventh among active Major League Soccer players with 72 goals. His 32 goals over the past three seasons are sixth most in the league. That 2012 season in New York marked the second time he has scored 18 goals. He also did it with Dallas in 2008, when he was named to the MLS Best XI team. In his return to Dallas last season, his six goals came in 31 appearances and 19 starts.
The Sounders acquired Cooper’s rights and allocation money last Friday in exchange for midfielder Adam Moffat. Moffat also said the trade caught him “completely by surprise” — and not in a good way.
“You never have much security in one place,” he told MLSsoccer.com and other media. “There was no mention of it. There was no ‘This could possibly be the case.’ It’s a horrible position, and it’s one I’d never wish on anyone else.”