Ashley Cole will come back in 2018! What should we expect from the 37-year old defender?
It took a long time, but defender and former English International Ashley Cole, has re-signed with the LA Galaxy. The club announced via a press release today that Cole would be back for the 2018 season following a successful 2017 campaign that saw him play and start in 29 of the club’s 34 games.
Cole now has 54 starts for the Galaxy since joining in January of 2016 and has amassed 4,726 minutes during that time. He’s scored two goals, recorded two assists, and has played in 3 post-season matches for 300 minutes with the club.
“We are very excited that Ashley will be returning for us in 2018. He has been a tremendous leader for our club,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach Sigi Schmid via a press release. “He has shown he can be successful in this league and we are confident that will continue in the season ahead.”
But at 37-years old, it should be noted, that Cole is a gamble as an everyday starter. And while he only missed five games last year, the clock on his body is running out.
He’s not as fast as he once was and he can certainly fall prey to younger quicker attackers. But that being said, he’s generally the smartest man on the field and plays angles and marks spaces better than anyone half his age.
Cole has also been proving his doubters wrong since he arrived in Los Angeles. Pushing away the “not ready to retire on a beach” comment he made when joining Italian side Roma, and quickly becoming a fan-favorite for his work rate and accurate assessments of the club’s many lackluster performances.
He is also a guy who will add invaluable veteran leadership to the locker room and the field. He proved in 2017 that he was more than up to the challenge to lead the club and may have even been named captain shortly before, then Head Coach, Curt Onalfo was fired.
The deal having been completed may also point to a reconciliation of sorts between Cole and the Galaxy. This, after a proposed raise, was nixed by the club’s front office following the departure of former Head Coach and General Manager, Bruce Arena after the 2016 season.
For their part, the Galaxy have gone about revamping a defense that gave up a franchise record 67 goals last year. They’ve added defenders Rolf Feltscher and Jorgen Skjelvik along with retaining Dave Romney, Daniel Steres, Michael Ciani and Hugo Arellano.
Cole, the likely starter at left back will find himself paired with Skjelvik on the left side and could find Steres or Ciani in central defense with Feltscher on the right.
And with a back four relatively settled, including good depth options off the bench, the Galaxy can go about finalizing a deal with goalkeeper David Bingham and finding the missing piece at the striker position.
With less than three weeks remaining before the Galaxy report to preseason training, the clock is quickly running out on Schmid’s re-build, and with 14 roster spots still open, more quick additions will be necessary.