Local media just got our first conference call with new Sounder forward Kenny Cooper, so signed with the team earlier in the day. Here's what he had to say:
On coming to Seattle: I’m incredibly excited. It’s a great opportunity to come to an amazing franchise with a massive and passionate fan base. I’m thrilled.
On if he expected trade from Dallas: I had an idea it was possible because of my contract situation, but I couldn’t be happier with where I ended up. I’m very appreciative to everyone at the Sounders for the faith that they’re showing in me.
On how he learned of the deal: I had been on the east coast. My wife and I have been spending time with her family in Baltimore and up in New Jersey and down to South Carolina – we’ve kind of been up and down the east coast. We’re very excited. We’ve been in the Pacific Northwest before and love the area and love being part of the passionate soccer culture that’s up there. So we recognize that it’s a great opportunity for us. We’re both thrilled.
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On the national perception of Seattle: I think it’s a game that everyone gets excited to play in because you know whenever you come the seats are going to be not only filled but filled with fans who are going to be supporting their team in a great way. It’s just always an amazing atmosphere. I think everyone dreams of playing in that type of atmosphere, and we’re so fortunate now that in this league Seattle provides such a great place to play. Obviously for the players in Seattle it’s a great experience, I can imagine to play home games in front of them. From my experience being a player on the away team, I think it’s a game that everybody looks forward to coming and to experience that fan culture there.
On this being his fourth team in four seasons: I don’t know how to answer that, to be honest with you. Obviously I would love to be in Seattle for a long time. Again, I’m just thrilled with where I ended up and incredibly grateful for the faith shown in me.
On what contributed from falloff from 18 goals in 2012 to six in 2013: That’s a hard one to answer. In New York I played in a very, very good team. 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 every to play the game. I believe I really benefited from playing alongside him and the other great players on that team, and we had a good run in the season and made the playoffs, which unfortunately ended before we all wanted it to. I have to give credit where credit’s due: I’ve been fortunate the past couple of years to play with and alongside some great players. I know I’m coming into a team that also has a lot of talent, obviously in the attack, but also in the back. The team has picked up some fantastic players in Stefan Frei and Chad Marshall. I’m looking forward to the group that I’ll play with this year.
On joining Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins: They’re both players that I really admire. 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, Chad Marshall: there are just so many players on the team who are so talented and have so much great experience. I’ll keep my mind open. I’m looking forward to spending some time with these guys: playing with them, learning from them, and being their teammate.
On what he can add to the Sounders: I hope to help contribute on both sides of the ball. Obviously as a forward there are expectations to score goals and help create them. So, there’s obviously a desire to do that from my part. But also to put in an honest effort every day and in every game and look to give the team my best every day.
On his role with the club: I’ve had experience playing in various roles. I’m comfortable playing various positions and at the end of the day want to give the coach, I want him to feel comfortable putting me wherever he thinks best. In saying that, I’m an attacking forward player, so my hope is to come in and help contribute to scoring and helping contribute goals for the team.