Dallas Soccer DFW

Dallas' Kenny Cooper revils in awesome moment

Published 1/29/2007 8:08:01 AM by Staff from FCDallas.net

It was nothing less than a dream debut for Kenny Cooper with the U.S. National Team on Saturday against Denmark. In his first National Team camp, Cooper did enough to catch the eye of Bob Bradley, the National Team's interim head coach, and earn a spot in his 18-man roster for the match at The Home Depot Center. Starting the match on the bench, Cooper had the best seat in the house to see the U.S. take a 2-1 lead midway through the second half before getting the call to enter the match. With 27 minutes remaining in the game, Cooper replaced Eddie Johnson to make his National Team debut and fulfill a dream.

"It was just an awesome moment," Cooper said of his debut. "It had always been a dream of mine to represent my country and to have that badge on my jersey so it was very special. And to have my girlfriend and my family there, it made it just that much more special that they were there and that they were able to experience everything with me."

Things would only get better eight minutes from time when a Heath Pearce through ball found Cooper who had snuck in behind the Danish defense. The 22-year old calmly collected the ball and slotted a right-footed shot past Danish keeper Jesper Christiansen and into the right side of the net to put the game out of reach at 3-1 in favor of the Red, White and Blue.

"It was a great ball by Heath, it slid me right in and I didn't know if I was offsides or not so I just kept running with it. It all happened so quick," he said after the game.

While the goal may have made a number of FCD fans think back to April 1, 2006 when Cooper made his MLS debut, coming off the bench on that day as well, and scored the game-winning goal against the rival Chicago Fire. What happened after the goal was very similar to the only other goal that Cooper had ever scored at The Home Depot Center.

That goal came on Sept. 9 in a 1-1 draw against Chivas USA. With the game scoreless early in the second half, Cooper hit a right-footed shot from 20 yards out past the dive of Brad Guzan to give FCD a 1-0 lead. As the ball settled into the net behind Guzan, Cooper sprinted toward the corner flag and pulled his shirt up over his head in celebration (celebrations have not been Cooper's strong suit since his arrival in MLS last season), leading to his second booking of the year.

He had a similar celebration this time, removing his shirt completely, and once again earning a yellow card for his efforts. Despite the yellow card, Cooper has nothing but good things to say about his initial appearance in National Team camp and earning his first cap.

"It was an amazing experience and a lot of fun. From day one, everyone went in there with a great attitude, and everyone worked hard so it was nice to get the win at the end to reward all of that effort. It was a huge honor for me to be a part of it and I hope to have the chance to do it again."

That chance could return in just more than two weeks time when the U.S. hosts Mexico in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 7. After the match against Mexico, the National Team will be off for a month and a half before taking on Ecuador in Tampa (March 25) and then returning to Frisco for a match against Guatemala on March 28 at Pizza Hut Park. If selected for that game, it would give Cooper the chance to don the National Team jersey in front of all of his biggest supporters.

"I'm sure that it would be an incredible honor and experience," Cooper said of the possibility of playing for the National Team at Pizza Hut Park against Guatemala on March 28. "But I'm not exactly sure what lies ahead of me or where my next opportunity might be, if there are any, but with all of my friends and family in Dallas, I'm sure it would be very cool to put on a National Team uniform and play in front of all of them."
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