Ashley Cole talks up bright future for MLS as he eyes Chelsea return

Chelsea legend Ashley Cole believes Major League Soccer is heading in the right direction. The former Blue talked up the league but is looking ahead to a Chelsea return, as a coach or scout.

Cole told FourFourTwo that MLS has a promising future and he’s enjoying his stateside career. Although he admits that life is tougher as an older player.

Ashley Cole – ‘It will be a very big league’

“The league is definitely growing,” he said. “MLS is demanding. You have to travel a lot, which is the main problem for older guys.

“You’re on the plane for five to seven hours and it’s not easy. But the younger guys are learning from the marquee players. In five or six years it will be a very big league.”

Photo of Ashley Cole by Ashley Marshall – MLSGB

The 36 year old has his heart set on a Chelsea return but insists he is not finished yet: “I would like to go back to England and work for Chelsea in some capacity if I could, so that would be my first choice.

“Coaching or being a scout is something I’ve always considered and enjoyed while watching games. I try to nurture young players coming through, so it’s something I have in the back of my mind for after I finish playing. But I want to play for as long as I possibly can, because once you finish playing, you are done for life.”

Cole isn’t the only ex-Chelsea player who has talked about returning to the club. Recently departed John Terry has highlighted his ambition to one day manage the Blues. The two former England internationals could find themselves spearheading the future of the club.

If Cole is true to his word on playing for as long as he can, he could potentially lineup for Galaxy for two or more seasons. With the likes of 38 year old Andrea Pirlo – who is two years his senior – still playing in MLS.

Will Ashley Cole return to Chelsea as a coach? How much longer will he play for Galaxy?

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Chelsea legend looking to return following MLS spell

Former Chelsea, Arsenal and Roma left back Ashley Cole is hoping for a return to West London after his playing days come to an end in Major League Soccer with LA Galaxy.

In an interview with Soccer AM, Cole revealed he is hoping to work in England after his spell in MLS, with Chelsea his preference: ‘I think I will probably look to go back one day and try to work. I want to work with something to do with Chelsea or scouting or kind of watching the young players develop. In a few years I’ll probably go back to England and try and find a job there.’

Chelsea fans won’t need reminding just how successful Cole was in his eight years at the club, where he arguably became the best left back in European football.

What would Cole bring to Chelsea as a coach?

So let’s have a look at what Ashley Cole could bring to Chelsea as a coach if he returns after his spell with LA Galaxy.

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Winning mentality

Cole is a winner, he has won 16 trophies in his career so far, with nine of those coming at Chelsea.

Chelsea honours:
Premier League – 2009/10
FA Cup – 2006/07, 2008/09, 2009/10, 2011/12
League Cup – 2006/07
UEFA Champions League – 2011/12
UEFA Europa League – 2012/13
FA Community Shield – 2009

He played an integral role throughout Chelsea’s Champions League winning campaign in the 2011/12 season and scored a penalty in their shootout against Bayern Munich.

Cole’s four FA Cup wins with Chelsea give him a total of seven tournament wins overall, including his three at Arsenal. He currently holds the record for the player with the most FA Cup winning medals.

The former England international has won the Premier League three times, twice with Arsenal and he is only one of nine players to reach over 100 caps for the national side.

Defensive positioning 

Cole is renowned for his defensive positioning, notably his clearances off the line. Galaxy fans have already experienced this attribute, with Cole making an incredible goal-line clearance against New York Red Bulls in their last MLS outing, albeit play was eventually bought back for offside. The left back also netted his first goal for the club in the same tie.

Watch: Ashley Cole’s goal-line clearance vs RBNY, credit: LA Galaxy official YouTube.

The former Chelsea man made two game-changing goal-line clearances in their Champions League run in 2012, one against Barcelona and the other against Napoli, both of which probably stopped his side from being dumped out of the tournament they went on to win.

Attacking flare 

Many full-backs are criticised for being too attacking or one attribute overweighing the other, either great going forward and weak at the back or vice-versa. Cole possesses great forward play as well as his defensive quality, an area he would arguably be able to guide upcoming players in.

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In his 337 appearances for Chelsea, Cole netted seven goals and racked up 37 assists. His best scoring season came in their 2009/10 Premier League winning campaign, where he netted four goals, including an incredibly composed strike against Sunderland which saw him win Chelsea’s goal of the season award.

Discipline 

Cole has had his fair share of negative publicity throughout his career, but his discipline on the pitch is exemplary. In his 589 domestic career appearances he has received just five red cards, unfortunately for Galaxy fans two of those have come this season.

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Cole insisted he still has the desire to play on for a while yet and believes the current Galaxy side should be looking at nothing less than winning it all. But at 35 his playing days will soon come to an end and it will be interesting to see where his career takes him from there.

Will Ashley Cole return to Chelsea as a coach? Would this be good for the club?

MLS Fantasy Focus: Drop your Revs defenders ahead of Round 9

By Jamie Dawe & Sam Martin

Another double gameweek provided us with the full return to form of 2015 Supporters’ Shield champions New York Red Bulls, NYCFC’s first home victory of the season and the frighteningly common sighting of another beautiful Didier Drogba goal. Five years ago, who could’ve imagined David Villa, Didier Drogba and Giovani Dos Santos all scoring on the same weekend in the same league – with that league being in the U.S.!!?

Week 9 Review

The Good:

Seattle Sounders vs Columbus Crew Jordan Morris

Seattle Sounders forward Jordan Morris ($8.2) scored for his third-straight league game as Seattle made it three home wins in a row. The Sounders are certainly making up for their sloppy start to the season – possibly affected by finally having real grass at their home stadium, CenturyLink Field. Likewise, the Red Bulls, having won just one of their opening seven fixtures, made it back-to-back wins with their 4-0 victory over a previously high-flying FC Dallas side this week. Mike Grella ($8.1) has scored in both of their last two games and picked up 9 points for the week, impressively adding to his 14 from the week before. Remaining in New York, NYCFC’s Spanish legend David Villa ($11.4) netted yet another double in his side’s 3-2 win against an uncharacteristically poor Vancouver. This brace, plus a solid performance against Montreal on Wednesday, gained Villa an unbeatable 21 points for the week. Despite Villa adding his 5th and 6th goals of the season, it was only NYCFC’s second win of the year and their first at home! Carlos Rivas ($9.4) netted a 90th minute equaliser to earn his Orlando side a point on their travels away to New England Revolution. However, OCSC are still on a four-match winless run that they will be desperate to curb.

The Bad:

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It was a poor week for LA Galaxy and especially their former Chelsea defender Ashley Cole ($7.7), who picked up two yellow cards within 32 seconds of each other. The first was for time wasting, with the second given out for a poor tackle, which saw LA reduced to 10 men. This was Cole’s first red card since 2012 and meant he obtained 0 points for the week…and at least a one match ban. San Jose’s Anibal Godoy ($7.2) saw red a short way into the second half in his team’s 1-1 draw away to Philadelphia. The Earthquakes remain winless on the road this season and Godoy’s contribution certainly didn’t help their cause last weekend. It was also a poor weekend defensively for FC Dallas, who let in four against a Red Bulls side that had previously lost their ability to score! Following a 3-0 defeat in Round 7 against the Whitecaps, Dallas have lost top spot in the Western Conference. Goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez ($5.9) will be bitterly disappointed with the loss, as he has only just been reinstated as the No. 1 after being ousted by Chris Seitz ($4.7).

Week 10 Preview

Quick Tips:

The Easy Choice: Sebastian Giovinco ($12.4)

If you are one of the small proportion of managers that does not own this Italian maestro, now is certainly the time to sign him up. Toronto play their first home game of the season against a Dallas side that have conceded seven goals in their last two games. With Giovinco’s ability to gain bonus points without even scoring, he’s a must have for Round 9.

Sebastian Giovinco Toronto FC 2016

The Low-Budget Superstar: Lamar Neagle ($7.7)

Neagle has been performing terrifically for DC United this season and it would be a shock if he fails to build on his terrific form (which has seen him pick up an average of over 5.5 points a game) against a defensively weak NYCFC backline.

The Form Pick: Shkelzen Gashi ($9.2)

Gashi has been in terrific form over the past few gameweeks, picking up two goals and two assists in April alone. His Rapids team face a strong Real Salt Lake side this weekend but that surely won’t stop the twice Swiss League top scorer from using all of the tricks in his incredibly vast book.

The Must-Sell: New England Revolution Defenders

With both Je-Vaughn Watson ($6.9) and Chris Tierney ($8.1) out injured, the Revs defence is looking depleted. They still have Andrew Farrell ($8.0) and Jose Goncalves ($8.0) fit, but I can’t see them keeping many clean sheets or gaining many bonus points with both Watson and Tierney missing. However, MLS is a notoriously unpredictable league and it’s open for the Revs backline to prove me wrong…

Podcast: Matt Miazga, Galaxy’s signings & Pep Guardiola discussed

In the latest MLSGB Podcast, Zack Walford talks to Louis East and Jamie Ives about Matt Miazga’s transfer from the New York Red Bulls to Chelsea FC, and also discuss some of LA Galaxy’s most recent signings.

We finish off by talking about Pep Guardiola’s upcoming move to Manchester City now that it is official and have a quick recap of the Premier League’s transfer deadline day business.

Be sure to comment below or get in touch on Twitter: @MLSGB_

LA Galaxy willing to take “gamble” as Ashley Cole secures move

Ashley Cole finally made his move to Major League Soccer by signing with the LA Galaxy on Wednesday afternoon, after months of rumours and reports.

The 35-year-old English left-back joins the Galaxy after seeing his contract with AS Roma terminated a year early last week.

The former Arsenal and Chelsea star will join former England teammate, Steven Gerrard, in Los Angeles, while also teaming up with former Premier League rivals Robbie Keane and Giovani Dos Santos.

Keane, Gerrard and Dos Santos currently occupy all three of LA Galaxy’s Designated Player slots, meaning Cole has not joined the club as a DP.

Many MLS fans will be glad to see Cole join the league, but there are also a large number of those who are questioning the decision to sign the three-time Premier League winner after referring to Major League Soccer as “a beach” when linked with a switch two years ago.

Galaxy head coach, Bruce Arena, is aware that there are those with doubts over whether Cole can be a success, but he thinks the signing will prove to be a risk that was worth taking.

“I think that he’s a good addition to our team, but only time will tell. Whether you think it’s a risk or a gamble, these are the risks and gambles that you take,” Arena said.

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“There is a real upside of having Ashley Cole with the LA Galaxy. I think that the opportunity that he’s going to have in LA is going to be a good one for him, and he’s going to be able to contribute greatly to our team.

“Ashley Cole has a great history. We know that doesn’t necessarily translate on the field when you come to MLS but my interactions over the last couple of months show me that he’s a player that has a strong desire to play here in Los Angeles.”

Cole is vastly experienced, having racked up 107 England caps over his career, playing in three World Cups and two European Championships with the Three Lions.

He becomes the Galaxy’s eighth signing of the offseason, joining Jelle Van Damme, Jeff Larentowicz, Mike Magee, Dan Kennedy, Emmanuel Boateng, Daniel Steres and Clement Diop.

Will Ashley Cole succeed in MLS with LA Galaxy? What are your thoughts on the move?

Ashley Cole undecided over LA Galaxy move despite deal being ‘close’

Ashley Cole’s proposed move to LA Galaxy is still hanging in the balance as the English left-back is mulling over “two or three options” as to where his career will likely finish.

Reports emerged earlier this week suggesting that Cole was “close” to securing a deal that would seem him move to MLS with LA Galaxy, but that does not seem to be the case at this stage.

The 35-year-old defender is believed to enjoy his lifestyle in Italy, where he has been since joining AS Roma in July 2014, and could even decide to remain where he is.

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Crystal Palace and Manchester United have also been linked with Cole if the former Chelsea and Arsenal star opts to make a return to the Premier League.

LA Galaxy is still seen as Cole’s most likely destination but no deal appears to have been agreed as we enter 2016.

Galaxy head coach, Bruce Arena has revealed he is actively looking to bring in a few players before the start of the 2016 MLS season, with experienced additions a priority after seeing Omar Gonzalez and Juninho transferred to Mexican clubs.

“I would anticipate that we’ll add three or four players to our roster,” Arena said. “There are a lot of factors on why players come to our team as opposed to others.

“The Galaxy have a good reputation. Our players from Europe that have played here or are playing here are good spokespersons for our club.”

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A move to LA Galaxy would see Cole link up with former England teammate Steven Gerrard as well as Irish striker Robbie Keane.

However, it would be highly unlikely that Cold would sign as a Designated Player, given the fact that the Galaxy already have Keane, Gerrard and Giovani Dos Santos tied down on DP contracts.

Would Ashley Cole be a good signing for LA Galaxy? 

Podcast: MLS Cup reaction, Ashley Cole to NYCFC & Swansea’s troubles discussed

In the latest MLSGB podcast, Zack Walford talks to Louis East and Jamie Ives about Sunday’s MLS Cup Final as Portland Timbers lifted a first ever championship.

The team also discuss recent reports linking Ashley Cole to New York City FC and the Premier League.

And we finish with Swansea City and Garry Monk’s struggles with the team in recent weeks.

Remember to send us your thoughts on Twitter: @MLSGB_

Ashley Cole reconsidering January MLS move to Orlando City – report

Ashley Cole and Major League Soccer. The two can’t seem to leave each other alone no matter how hard they try, and the English left-back is now being linked with a January move to Orlando City.

Cole has struggled since moving to Italy’s Serie A to join AS Roma and the club are now willing to move the experienced fullback on in the January transfer window, according to calcionews24.com.

Orlando City are being labelled as favourites for Cole’s transfer, though New York Red Bulls have also been suggested as a possible destination.

The former Chelsea star turns 34 next week but could offer Orlando so much experience in defence were he to change his view on MLS.

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Cole referred to Major League Soccer as “an easy ride” when linked with a move in the summer, but his tough time in Italy may have changed his stance.

Orlando City are looking ahead to their first season in MLS and have only added Kaka as a designated player so far.

Cole would surely be a DP were he to join too, but many would see using a designated player slot on a left-back as a risky move, especially considering Cole’s past comments on the league.

Would Ashley Cole be a good acquisition for Orlando City despite his past comments?

Ashley Cole again linked with MLS move – New York Red Bulls interested

The New York Red Bulls are reportedly weighing up a move for former Arsenal and Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, as they begin their hunt for designated players.

Cole is currently playing in Serie A with AS Roma after signing a two-year deal back in July, despite interest from Major League Soccer at that time too.

However, the experienced left-back has failed to impress coaching staff at Roma, and he was substituted at half-time during the 7-0 loss to Bayern Munich last week.

The 33-year-old is back on the radar of two MLS clubs as a result, according to the Daily Mail.

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Orlando City are believed to be interested, but it’s the Red Bulls who appear Cole’s most likely destination were he to change his stance on the league.

Many fans were angered by the Englishman’s comments this summer as he referred to MLS as “an easy ride”, but a move to New York could now be an enticing option if things don’t improve in Italy.

Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill – the Red Bull’s current two designated players, are looking likely to leave the club after the playoffs, and so the club will have money to invest in someone of Cole’s calibre.

Cole’s good friend and former Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard is set to move to the Big Apple to join up with New York City FC in February, and this might also influence the Roma man’s decision.

Would Ashley Cole be a good capture for MLS? Should the Red Bulls invest in him?

England’s golden generation to head Stateside?

With three of England’s most experienced talents possibly heading to MLS, we take a look at where their talents would be best suited.

England’s golden generation has passed, and with the new crop of players coming through, there is no need for the likes of Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard or Rio Ferdinand to stay in England.

The money is in England with these three veterans still demanding a high wage bill, however, with the expansion teams planned in MLS there will be a need to promote the new franchises.

And what better way to promote a new team than to have a 100-cap England international on the roster.

When David Beckham joined LA Galaxy in 2007 many viewed it as a transfer for purely commercial gain. However, ‘Goldenballs’ inspired the Galaxy to two titles in 2011 and 2012.

The signing of Beckham prompted a complete re-branding of the franchise in 2007 and also Major League Soccer, as he spearheaded an MLS popularity boost. Could Ferdinand, Lampard and Cole do the same with other franchises across the league?

The only problem lies in that all three are linked with the New York Red Bulls, and they only have one designated player spot left.

This is where I think each player would thrive the most:

Rio Ferdinand: New York Red Bulls

Ferdinand is the favourite for the New York move as the Red Bulls are desperate for a solid centre-back.

The 35-year-old would sure up the defence of the Red Bulls and provide direction for the all-out attacking force they have at their disposal.

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(Photo: “On my way” – Ferdinand looks set to join MLS this summer and would be perfect in New York with the Red Bulls)

Ashley Cole: New England Revolution

Cole would be another good addition for the Red Bulls, but ‘Rio’ should be their priority.

Cole would be more suited for the New England Revolution, who have only filled one designated player slot, and the Chelsea defender could keep them on track for success this season.

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(Photo: Ashley Cole could still make the move across the Atlantic and New England would be a good fit for the left-back)

Frank Lampard: Montreal Impact

Frank Lampard is a tricky one as not many teams would want to take on a central midfielder that’s 36 next month.

However, if he were to head Stateside, he would surely play in his usual advanced role and sit behind a striker.

Montreal Impact are desperate for goals this season and a name like Lampard’s would strike fear into opposition, while ‘Lamps’ has also expressed an interest in playing for Beckham’s proposed Miami franchise, though this will surely come too late for the midfield veteran.

(Photo: Lampard’s future is still undecided, and could be another to head out to the US this summer)