Cooper's steady progress in the game was accelerating, but like an own goal out of the most unsuspecting situation, that all came to a halt on Feb. 14, 2008.
"I couldn't run, I had a big bump on my neck," Cooper said. "It was a lymph node, it was cancerous, and so it swelled up real big. We went in, had it cut out, did the biopsy and they said 'Hey, it's cancer.'"
Within hours, Chris said, the family whisked down to OU Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City. The Hodgkin's lymphoma was in stage 2, and they would spend the better part of the year trying to get rid of it. By August, things started to get a bit better, although the family wasn't quite ready to accept victory just yet. It is after all, as Chris says, so disorientating.
"Everything just spins in front of your eyes really fast," he said. "It takes a while to figure out what's going on. I remember when the doctor called me, exactly where I was."
Thoughts of cancer always stayed "in the back of your head," they said, and just before Thanksgiving in 2008, things got much worse. In a routine scan, doctors found troubling signs that the cancer was making a return.
For about 11 months, Cooper and his parents went back-and-forth to the hospital, blood tests were carried out, scans were made, but the source of the problem could not be found. In this time, understandably, Cooper's soccer playing was limited to nonexistent.
Finally, in October of 2009, a cancerous lymph node was identified and treatment could begin. Even in all of this, a young Cooper just took things in stride, to the best of his abilities.