The LA Galaxy are close to signing veteran defender Ashley Cole according to the LA Times. The former Arsenal, Chelsea, and Roma left back could be heading to Los Angeles after having his contract with the Serie A club terminated in the Summer.
On the surface this seems like your normal run-of-the-mill aging former European star signing, a trend prevalent throughout Major League Soccer. However, this signing signals an end of an era.
During its first 20 years in existence, MLS has always felt like a community. Other clubs cared about one another and the betterment of the league. When the league is represented by a club in a regional cup competition, like the CONCACAF Champions League, the whole league would rally around that one club in hopes it could bring glory to the league.
The LA Galaxy will have completely killed that sense of comradery with this signing. Back in the Summer of 2014, Ashley Cole was on the search for a new club after a really good career in the English Premier League. He eventually settled on Roma. Reports surfaced soon after that MLS clubs were interested in his services. When asked about those links, the former England international stated, essentially that he wasn't ready to "quit" and come play in MLS.
"I had offers from the USA, but I'm not ready to relax on a beach yet," Cole told reporters in 2014. "I've won a lot in my career already, but I don't want to stop."
Cole didn't stop there. After backlash from those comments, he took to Twitter and unleashed this follow up rant about how the competition in MLS wasn't good enough for him and how people who are complaining should mind their business.
"Before I signed at Roma people were killing me about (possibly) playing (in the USA), saying it's for the money and easy lifestyle, I choose to play in a more demanding place and team and people still feel the need to moan. How about you just worry about your team and I'll worry about mine."
He will likely be asked about these comments during his introductory press conference. And he'll likely issue some half-assed apology or claim the comments were taken out of context, then expect us to forgive and forget and be grateful he's graced us with his presence.
Surely the Galaxy are aware of these comments and instead of taking a stand against these insults hurled towards the league, they've done nothing but completely justify his derogatory comments. A player that was paid NOT TO PLAY for Roma, a player so far past his prime he's ready to 'relax on the beach', they've gone and granted his request instead of doing the prideful thing and laugh in his face.
This signing is a spit in the face of MLS and all those who support the league. The Galaxy should be ashamed of themselves for embarrassing everyone involved with the league in the faint hopes that they can make a bargain signing.
ALSO READ: Our Contributing Editor, Aaron Bauer, offers a counterpoint on why MLS fans should be thrilled about Ashley Cole signing with LA