Ayoze will defend for Indy Eleven this season. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
If Indy Eleven will have a Cosmos feel to it this season, there will be a good reason why.
The United Soccer League club signed former Cosmos defender Ayoze and forward Eugene Starikov to contracts, pending league registration.
They joined former New York midfielder Juan Guerra, who signed with the club Jan. 13.
Fifteen Cosmos have left the club since the end of the NASL season.
The Cosmos are in limbo for the time being as it awaits a ruling from an appellate court as the NASL seeks a preliminary injunction on the U.S. Soccer Federation rescinding its Division Two status for 2018.
“I’m pleased to let Indy Eleven fans know that we’ve added high quality players in Ayoze and Starikov,” Indy head coach Martin Rennie said in a statement. “Their winning track record and great composure in championship matches adds great depth to our team.”
Ayoze, who announced he was leaving the team last week, played five seasons with the Cosmos since the North American Soccer League team returned to competitive soccer in 2013. He was a member of three NASL championship teams — in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
“I’m excited to be joining Indy Eleven,” Ayoze said. “Coach Rennie is putting a great team together and I’m ready to start practicing with my new teammates and coaching staff.”
Ayoze was a staple on the the Cosmos backlinethe last five seasons. He appeared in 119 regular-season matches and logged more than 10,000 minutes. Ayoze scored eight goals and added14 assists during his Cosmos career. He was a NASL Golden Ball nominee and named in the NASL Best XI.
Starikov returned to the states last season with the Cosmos after a playing overseas in the Russian and Ukrainian Premier Leagues. Last season Starikov appeared in 25 games, recording four goals and one assist.
As per Indy policy, terms of player contracts were not released.
According to the Cosmos roster on its website, nine players are still with the team.
They include goalkeepers Kyle Zobeck and Brian Holt, defender Jimmy Mulligan, midfielders Kobi Moyal, Danny Szetela, Richard Menjivar and Salvatore Barone and forwards Bledi Bardic and Lucky Mkosana.