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Op-Ed: An Open Letter To Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole of AS Roma reacts during an AS Roma training session at Lakeside Stadium on July 20, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. July 20, 2015| Credit: Michael Dodge

Dear Ashley Cole,

Good morning, afternoon, evening wherever you are in the world. I offer my goodwill on behalf of everyone here at The Stoppage Time, powered by Azteca Soccer. First off, as it seems inevitable that you will be signing your name on the line and dotting the t’s and c’s, I would like to personally welcome you to America and a career competing in Major League Soccer, the premier club  association football competition in the United States and Canada, for the Los Angeles Galaxy Football Club of Carson, California.

I want to take this time to point out something you mentioned back in, what was it? Ah, 2014, less than two years. You said this, and I quote, “I have had other offers from USA but I didn’t want to sit on the beach yet. Before I signed at Roma people on here killing me about playing there, saying it’s for the money and easy life style, 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, I’m talking about the MLS by the way.”

Well, news flash, Ash, the Galaxy are your team now, and yes, we do have some nice beach communities like Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach that back the blue, gold and white of the five-time Major League Soccer champions and four-time Supporters’ Shield holders. They’ve been doing this for years, in fact, since the very beginning, just so you know.

You aren’t getting as much time, and things change, at Associazione Sportiva Roma. Things really do change. That’s football. That’s sports. Here at the Los Angeles Galaxy (and I say this as a longtime supporter and follower of the team, the league and CONCACAF), we do have high demands and expectations. We want to win trophies. We need to win trophies. We have had a reputation of being a glamour club and one of the faces of MLS. We have rivals everywhere. Seattle. San Jose. D.C. Salt Lake. Dallas. Portland. New York (Red Bulls, that is).

MLS is not an easy league, Ashley. Steven Gerrard knows this. Frank Lampard knows this. Giovani dos Santos, Brazilian Kaka and Italian Sebastian Giovinco (our current league MVP) know this too. Let me ask you this: how does a team like the Portland Timbers, who have no big names to speak of that stand out in the big global picture, win MLS Cup, the highest honor given to any team that plays in MLS?

Here’s the answer: they work as a unit, they put aside their egos, they take their work seriously and find their form. In terms of form I don’t think that has been the case in recent times for you, Ashley. And we here in America know that you have won a lot of honors back in England. We remember the Premier League titles you won with Arsenal in 2002 and 2004, and with Chelsea in 2010. Seven FA Cups, three FA Community Shields, a Champions League and Europa League title amount to a strong record too.

But in your new home with the Galaxy, all of that is erased. Now you need to prove that your skills as a left back will help bolster the defensive issues that they had last season. You’re most likely going to get playing time from the get-go and fit right in. You see, Los Angeles gave up tons of goals last year and suffered heavy defeats. I’m talking about, hmmm, along the lines of 46 goals allowed against 56 forwarded in 11 defeats and nine draws in 2015.

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That hurts. That really hurts. So you know what, Ashley? You need to formally apologize to Major League Soccer with a genuine intention and show that you have strong respect for the league and you will stand by it to the end. Our opponents are very good. There is lots of parity. And many of the younger players and league vets coming up will want to eat. Your. Lunch.

So, if you can help reduce the goals that L.A. gave up last season and tighten up in the back, we will take this as a sign that you are indeed repentant on such uneducated, incendiary affront on social media regarding my league, which begins its 21st season of existence in a few months time. It’s time for you, Ashley Cole to make this New Year’s resolution: to return the Los Angeles Galaxy to prominence in 2016 and be a hero in the City of Angels as the #RaceToSeis begins anew.

Good luck, and Happy New Year.

Signed,

Jo-Ryan Salazar
Columnist, The Stoppage Time

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