Reports from afar that Ashley Cole is close to signing with the LA Galaxy would once have been dismissed as more Euro-generated garbage littering the outer edges of silly season. After all, the Galaxy once graded out at “pretty doggone reliable” on player moves. But more and more, we seem to be asking: Remember when the LA Galaxy made good personnel choices?
Nothing is certain on this, but none other than Galaxy manager Bruce Arena himself has offered a tepid confirmation on reports of the 35-year-old former England international signing up for MLS duty.
Ooof! …. Ashley Cole? Whose idea is that?
Cole was a bust at Roma, and he hasn’t played a competitive match since March. Officials in Rome were so unimpressed with the one-time standard bearer at left back for England that they terminated his contract, allowing Cole to go where he pleased, no transfer fee requested. Maybe they gave him some nice beach towels as a parting gift.
He was quite thoughtlessly unkind in previous remarks about professional soccer in our land. Wait until the man takes his first flight from Southern California into Orlando, crossing three time zones to swim through 90 minutes of relentless Florida humidity; we’ll see if that feels like “sitting on the beach.” Oh, and once he gets there, he can deal with Kaka and a team on the rise, one that fights hard even in defeat. That ain’t no day at the beach.
Or wait until he gets his first dose of Texas summer heat in Dallas or Houston. Best bet on the board for that night: that Cole says “enough!” and retires from soccer at halftime.
Again, nothing is certain, but this fits an increasingly alarming narrative. Well, “alarming” if you’re a denizen of the formerly placid and stable Bruce Arena Valley. For the set that loves to hate the big money men of the StubHub Center, levels of glee and mirth are rising.
If this were just Cole, it would be one thing. We could write it off as a mistake, a hiccup that shouldn’t have happened, or a forgivable flub from a group of deciders who have probably earned a mulligan. Those three MLS Cups in four years (2011, 2012, 2014) buys that.
But it’s not just one. This is the latest in a series of personnel choices that are debatable, at very least. Individually, most of them rate more “misdemeanor” than “felony.” But when they start stacking up, that “stacking up” begins to look like the bigger story.