This is the latest instalment of We Are TFC. Every week, we’ll sit down with one of the Reds and help you get to know them a little bit better, on and off the field. This week, TorontoFC.ca chats with the newest Red, Panamanian midfielder Armando Cooper.
Take a look at your phone, what photo to you means the most and why?
COOPER: A picture of my daughter Jinielys. She is six years old.
Is she in Panama? Do you plan to bring her to visit you in Toronto?
COOPER: Yes, she is still in Panama with her Mom who is pregnant. They must stay in Panama due to the doctors’ orders.
Who are your heroes in life?
COOPER: My dad. He was a soccer player and I followed him as a kid. He was a great influence on me.
Clearly your Dad has played a huge role in your life. Where did he play? What position did he play? And for how long?
COOPER: He was mostly an attacking midfielder but he was versatile and could also play anywhere in the midfield. He played for our local city team in Colon, Panama while maintaining a job. There was a chance for him to become a professional, but his job gave him an ultimatum, either work or play football and my Dad chose to work. He continued to play for many years at the amateur level.
Before coming to Toronto FC you have played against Michael and Jozy during international play. How is it to have them as teammates now?
COOPER: Playing against them with the national team I always respected them, they are pillars on the US national team. Now having the opportunity to play alongside them has been super exciting.
You have played big matches in Panama, Argentina and Germany. How has the fan atmosphere at BMO compared to other stadiums you have played in?
COOPER: With respect to Argentina, it’s difficult to compare the atmosphere to BMO field because the fans have a unique style of supporting their team down there. In comparison to Germany, the atmosphere at BMO Field is very similar and I’ve heard that our fans and their style of support is continuously grown and getting better every year.
When I say Toronto, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
COOPER: Just the word Excellent. I love it! It’s very relaxing and I have no issues at all.
What is your favourite pastime?
COOPER: I like to draw and I also enjoy listening to music
What do you usually draw?
COOPER: Masks, characters and cartoons.
You said you also like to listen to music, do you have a favourite artist?
COOPER: I love listening to ballads, specifically one called ‘Sin Bandera’ – which translates to No Flags.
Who is the funniest player on the team?
COOPER: On the team? Tosaint Ricketts. He just makes me laugh a lot.
How would people close to you describe you?
COOPER: Calm, is how I hope other people would describe me.
And how would you describe yourself?
COOPER: I like to think that I’m a calm person but I also like to have fun. I like the banter and making jokes.
What’s your all-time favourite movie?
COOPER: Italian Job. (laughs)
How do you like to spend your offseason?
COOPER: Very relaxed. Hanging out with my friends and sometimes, if anything, I head to a beach resort with the family.
What is the one thing you miss most about Panama that you can’t have in Toronto?
COOPER: The food! (laughs)
What is your favourite food that you can’t get in Toronto?
COOPER: The fresh plantains, rice with black beans and fresh coconut.
If you weren’t a professional soccer player, what would you be doing?
COOPER: I have no idea! (laughs)