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Sports in brief


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rowdies sign premier league star joe cole

The Rowdies on Wednesday announced a three-year deal with midfielder Joe Cole, a three-time English Premier League champion as a member of Chelsea.

"He's one of the most technically gifted players around,'' coach Stuart Campbell said.

The hope is Cole, 34, 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.

There was mutual interest as Cole took in a Rowdies training session in February while visiting St. Petersburg with his family (wife, Carly and children Ruby, 6, Harry, 4 and newborn Max). Cole also 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's 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 had 56 national team appearances, playing for England in three World Cups.

MORE SOCCER: Host Real Madrid ground out a 1-0 victory over Manchester City to reach the Champions League final against city rival Atletico Madrid. The second leg of the semifinal was decided by Gareth Bale's shot from a tight angle that deflected off defender Fernando in the 20th minute and was marked down as an own goal. Madrid advanced with a 1-0 aggregate win after a scoreless first-leg draw in England last week. Real Madrid will be trying to win its 11th Champions League title in Milan on May 28.

et cetera

autos: The Mercedes Formula One team published an open letter to fans to counter speculation on social media that it favors Nico Rosberg over teammate Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton, the defending F1 champion, trails Rosberg by 43 points after four races — all of them won by Rosberg. Hamilton has been beset by engine problems and the British driver also had to slow down late in Sunday's Russian GP with a water pressure issue — just as he was closing in on Rosberg. Mercedes said team staff members are not working more "for one driver or the other," and that "there is no 'A' or 'B' team here."

tennis: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic eased into the third round of the Madrid Open by beating Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4. He next faces Roberto Bautista Agut. Nick Kyrgios beat fourth-seeded Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (9-7), 7-6 (7-2), and Sam Querrey of the United States beat Lucas Pouille 6-7 (7-5), 6-3, 6-4. In the women's draw, fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka pulled out with a back injury.

olympics: Marc Leishman joined Adam Scott in deciding not to play golf for Australia at the Rio Olympics. Leishman cited concerns over the health of his family because of the Zika virus. Leishman's wife, Audrey, nearly died last year from toxic shock syndrome, and he said her immune system is not 100 percent.

Darek Sharp, Times correspondent; Times wires

Al Lang update

A plan to upgrade Al Lang into a first-class soccer stadium appears dead. 1B

Sports in brief 05/04/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 10:08pm]
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