Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rowdies sign Premier League star Joe Cole

Joe Cole played for Chelsea from 2003-10 and notably had 56 national team appearances, playing for England in three World Cups most recently as 2010.

Getty Images

Joe Cole played for Chelsea from 2003-10 and notably had 56 national team appearances, playing for England in three World Cups most recently as 2010.

Joe Cole, a three-time Premier League champion as a member of Chelsea, is a player Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell has always held in the highest regard.

"He's one of the most technically gifted players around. In England, he's there with (Steven) Garrard, (Frank) Lampard," said Campbell, referring to two stalwarts of recent English football.

Now Cole — 34, four years younger than the aforementioned — is with the Rowdies. The team announced a three-year deal Wednesday with the midfielder. The hope is he will clear through visa issues and be with the club for its next game, at home against Rayo OKC on May 14.

Cole became available when his Coventry City, playing in English third-level League One, wrapped up its season. Cole scored two goals and has six assists in 22 games after going on loan from Premier club Aston Villa.

Campbell's experience with English soccer came into play.

"We were looking to make a big signing, that type of player who was coming to the end of his contract but still had the heart and determination to play. After two minutes on the phone with him, it was full steam ahead for me," Campbell said.

Apart from what he brings to the pitch Campbell says Cole will play a vital role as a team leader.

There was mutual interest as Cole took in a Rowdies training session in February while visiting St. Petersburg with his family (he has a wife, Carly and children Ruby, 6, Harry, 4 and newborn Max). Cole then attended Tampa Bay's March preseason game in England against Stoke City.

"Everyone was lovely, they really made us feel welcomed," Cole told the team website. "My desire to win football matches is still there. I'm not coming for an extended holiday."

Cole played for Chelsea from 2003-10 and notably had 56 national team appearances, playing for England in three World Cups most recently as 2010.

Rowdies sign Premier League star Joe Cole 05/04/16 [Last modified: Thursday, May 5, 2016 12:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays morning after: An up-and down day for Jose De Leon

    Blogs

    Rays RHP Jose De Leon had a busy Monday - getting called up to join the Rays for the first time and making his way from Pawtucket, R.I., to Boston and the flying to Texas, working 2 2/3 eventful innings to get the W in the 10-8 victory over the Rangers, and then getting optioned back to Triple-A.

    Jose De Leon follows through in the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on May 29, 2017.
  2. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  3. Four key games that could decide Bucs' success in 2017

    Blogs

    The Bucs finished so close to making the playoffs in 2016 -- literally flip-flop the last two results and have them beat the Saints and lose to the Panthers and they're in as a wild card with the same 9-7 record -- that it's difficult to say with any certainty what will happen in the 2017 season.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, shown celebrating a touchdown against the Giants in 2015, will face New York again this fall in Week 4 in Tampa.
  4. Frank Deford wrote with sincerity, giving depth to complicated sports figures

    Human Interest

    Frank Deford practically invented the notion of multimedia: He exported his voice to radio, TV and film, and if you didn't know him you might have thought he was an actor, because he wore purple suits and looked like Clark Gable. But Frank, who died Sunday at age 78, was a writer above all things, and an important …

    In a 1991 photo, Frank Deford holds a proof of The National Sports Daily, of which he was editor and publisher [Associated Press]
  5. Clarity coming this week on Florida Gators, Malik Zaire

    Blogs

    After months of speculation, we could finally get some clarity this week on the Florida Gators and graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire.

    SEC flags outside the hotel of last year's spring meetings in Destin. This year's meetings could have a huge impact on the Florida Gators' season.