Joe Cole talks “mishmash” of NASL level, MLS aims of Tampa Bay

Photo credit: NASL / Twitter: @NASLofficial

Tampa Bay Rowdies man Joe Cole‘s word carries some weight in the English media, and the ex-Three Lions man was asked to assess the quality of the NASL.

Cole posted nine goals and seven assists in 24 matches for the Rowdies this year across their Spring and Fall seasons, and also was asked about the direction of Tampa Bay.

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Here are his thoughts, taken from on Sky Sports TV in England…

On the standard: “Every team’s got 5 or 6 international, but they’re all sort of Ecuador, El Salvador. The standard’s okay, but then you’ve got some players who wouldn’t get into a League Two, Conference-style side. It’s a mishmash. There’s some players, you think, He’s got a chance here.”

On Tampa’s ambition: “The plan was always MLS but we couldn’t say that when we went out there. The whole thing the owner wants to do it take the club, cause it’s got a name Tampa Bay Rowdies from the 1970s,  to MLS. Now with all the politics is out of the way they can say, ‘This is what we want to do’ 2018, 19, 20, the stadium is being built so it’s all looking like going to MLS.”

Was it easy? “I loved the home games cause I can stroll down the bay, you get there an hour and a half before kickoff, stroll back stop in a nice restaurant, it’s lovely. But the away games are a nightmare. It’s like a three hour flight, change, hour flight, and you can play on some real bad pitches. Astroturf and things like that.  It’s the same like MLS, you can speak to Frank and Stevie, they are tough physically cause of the travel and the time zones.”
All-in-all, nothing wildly surprising — especially the travel bit — but it is interesting to hear Tampa Bay’s in-house goals were hardline MLS. And what’s wrong with Ecuador, Joe?

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