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All 12 teams start preseason training.

MLS Cup returns to Pizza Hut Park in November.

Chivas USA acquires Razov from MetroStars, trading away Martins.

Real Salt Lake snaps up Rowland second in supplemental draft.

RSL continues shakeup, acquiring Klein from Kansas City.

Columbus adds Rozental, gets Ward from MetroStars for Henderson.

Indiana, UCLA each lose two underclassmen to Generation adidas.

Gutierrez is acquired by Chicago, sending John to Kansas City.

Real Salt Lake signs Torres for second MLS stint.

Elliott leaves Columbus for England, has bad Fulham debut.

Houston team will play at UH stadium for three years.

Earthquakes move to Houston, name stays in San Jose.

MLS notes

FC Dallas signs Cooper; San Jose expansion hopes are dealt blow.

Cooper-Hitchcock
Kenny Cooper (left), here with FC Dallas president and general manager Michael Hitchcock, returned to sign with his hometown club after spending two-and-a-hald years in the Manchester United program.
-- FC Dallas web site photo --
DALLAS (Monday, February 6, 2006) -- Striker Kenny Cooper, who went from high school directly to Manchester United, returned home today when he signed with FC Dallas of Major League Soccer.

Cooper's two-and-a-half-year tenure at United ended on a down note with the club pretty much giving up on the potential that spurred it to lure him away from a scholarship offer he verbally committed to take at Southern Methodist University. At 21, however, Cooper still has plenty of time to realize the talent that made him a one-time protege at the world's most famous team.

Cooper, who was released by United on January 30, signed a multi-year contract with MLS, which owns the player contracts for all 12 of its teams. Terms were not disclosed.

"It's not every day that a player of Kenny Cooper's caliber leaves one of the top club teams in the world to pursue his dream of playing professional soccer in his home town," FC Dallas president and general manager Michael Hitchcock said. "This is a great day for FC Dallas, Major League Soccer and the entire Dallas soccer community."

Cooper's MLS rights belonged to the Kansas City Wizards, but a deal was worked out between the clubs to allow Dallas to obtain the player, whose father Ken was a star goalkeeper for the Dallas Tornado of the North American Soccer League from 1970-79. Details of the transaction were not released, but both the Wizards and FC Dallas are owned an operated in the league's single-entity structure by Lamar Hunt's family Hunt Sports Group

"We've been chasing Kenny for a couple of years now," FC Dallas coach Colin Clarke said. "We obviously were very aware of him seeing that he is from Dallas and was then at Man. United. Myself and (assistant coach) Steve (Morrow) have seen him play three or four times in the last 16 months so when the opportunity arose and Kenny made it known that he wanted to come back home we jumped at the chance. He is a young, strong forward who I think is going to do very well in this league and score a lot of goals, so we are thrilled to have him at FC Dallas."

Cooper displayed great promise when he scored 17 goals for the Man. U. reserves in 2003-04, but two brief loan deals did not work out well. His assignment to Academica Coimbra of Portugal's first-division Liga BetandWin at the beginning of the 2004-05 season was cut short because of lack of playing time.

He was loaned for a short time to Oldham Athletic of England's third-division League One in January 2005.

On December 28, United reserve team manager Rene Meulensteen said the club was looking to again loan Cooper out. Then, on January 30, Man. U. announced it was parting ways with Cooper "by mutual consent."

"It is a big deal," Clarke said. "Normally the good players are going the other way (to Europe). Now we have a chance to bring one back from Manchester United and actually balance it."

Cooper had only good things to say about Man. U. today at a press conference at Dallas Jesuit High School where, as a senior, he as named the 2003 "Gatorade High School Player of the Year."

"At this time in my life, I really felt it was the best thing to do and a great situation for me," Cooper told The Dallas Morning News. "It's a personal choice. I was ecstatic to hear there was interest in me to come back. I jumped at it right away."

Cooper never played for the Manchester United first team but, in Dallas, he will be expected to step right in and combine with Eddie Johnson to form a dynamic strike pair.

Cooper was born in Baltimore, where his father was coach of the Major Indoor Soccer League's Baltimore Blast, and moved to Dallas at the age of 14. Ken Cooper came to the NASL and then MISL from England. As a citizen, it allowed his son to easily qualify for a work permit in England, a hurdle that made it difficult for some Americans to sign there.

Kenny's father, high school coach Charles DeLong and several former Dallas Tornado players were at this afternoon's press conference. "It's very special to see, the next generation coming forward from the roots all those years ago with the Tornado," Hunt told the Morning News.


San Jose expansion suffers setback

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Hopes of putting an expansion team in San Jose for the 2007 MLS season appeared to have died.

After playing in MLS for its first 10 years, the San Earthquakes (originally and briefly named the Clash) moved December 15 and became Houston 1836. MLS left the team name, colors and brands to the city of San Jose with the hope that a package for an expansion team -- with a new stadium -- could be put together for 2007.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the plans for a new team have fallen apart. A proposal called for an estimated $80 million from taxpayers for operating subsidies, stadium construction and land, but the package apparent will not be considered by the city council for a vote. One major stumbling block was the council's reluctance to devote to pro soccer funds that are currently earmarked for recreation facilities.

"The deal that was on the table doesn't exist anymore," Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez, a candidate for mayor, told the Mercury News. "Before the Quakes left, there was a lot of momentum in the soccer community to keep the Earthquakes. Now that the team is gone, I do think we're starting from scratch. It's a brand-new playing field.''

The city council will discuss the matter at its Tuesday meeting, but no action is expected in the next several weeks.

The Earthquakes played all 10 seasons at the 73-year-old Spartan Stadium. The facility was not big enough for a regulation field, but what was most disturbing to owner-operator Anschutz Entertainment Group was it did not share in parking and concessions revenue with San Jose State University, which owns the facility.

With Toronto slated to join MLS in 2007, that leaves the league with the unwieldy possibility of having an odd number -- 13 -- teams for that season.


Columbus Crew: Chileans Rozental, Gonzalez gain visas

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Two Chilean players the Columbus Crew signed in January -- attacking midfielder Sebastian Rozental and defender Marcos Gonzalez -- acquired their work visas and joined the team's preseason camp in Florida.

British defender Joel Kitamirike has not yet arrived in Florida.

Midfielder David Chun, the Crew's second-round pick in the supplemental draft, decided to remain in school at Southern Methodist rather than go pro.

The Crew invited four non-roster players to train with the team -- forward Chris Carrieri, defenders Adam Frye and Rusty Pierce, and midfielder Brant Rahim.

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