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.

Related News/Archive

"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. Florida State out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2011

    Blogs

    Florida State's first 0-2 start since 1989 has led to another low.

  2. Bucs' Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson kneel during national anthem

    Bucs

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings, two days after President Donald Trump made critical remarks about NFL …

    Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson both kneeled during the national anthem in protest before Sunday's game at the Vikings. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Matt Baker's AP Top 25 college football ballot

    College

    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher still thinks he can have a good team. Maybe he's right.

  4. My AP Top 25 ballot: FSU out, USF, Florida Gators back in

    Blogs

    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher still thinks he can have a good team, as I wrote in today's Tampa Bay Times. Maybe he's right.

  5. Road to Atlanta, Week 4

    College

    State-ments

    Central Florida defensive lineman Tony Guerad (93) gestures in front of teammate Jamiyus Pittman, right, and Maryland offensive lineman Damian Prince, left, after tackling Maryland running back Ty Johnson and forcing a punt on fourth down in the first half of an NCAA college football game in College Park, Md., Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) MDPS104