By Michael Lewis
The Cosmos have a history of having national team captains and they’re about to get another.
During their glory, glory days, Brazil’s Carlos Alberto and West Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer helped the club wins league titles and international fame after leading their respective countries to World Cup championships.
Next week, another national team skipper is slated to join the team — Albanian captain Ansi Agolli, who is expected to give the Cosmos more backline experience.
The 36-year-old Agolli will join the National Premier Soccer League side next week, according to Albanian website www.supersport.al.
Agolli, who can play as a left back or left midfielder, could be in a position to train with the team as early as Monday, according to a U.S. soccer source.
During a 19-year professional career that included stints with Albanian, Swiss, Finnish, Ukrainian, Azerbaijan clubs, Agolli has made more than 400 first-team appearances in league matches.
He started his career with a six-year stint with Tirana in his native country through 2005 before playing with Apolonia Fier on Loan. He then spent a season apiece in Switzerland with Neuchatel Xamax and Luzern before joining VPS (Finland) for two seasons starting in 2007.
After returning to Tirana for a year in 2008, Agolli performed for Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih (Ukraine) for three years. He then found a home with Qarabag (Azerbaijan, making 202 appearances over the past nine years, being named Qarabag player of the 2014-15 season.
Agolli has been a part of 15 championship teams. In Albania, he has won the Superliga three times, the Albanian Cup twice and the and Supercup on three occasions. In Azerbaijan, he has helped Qarabag to the Premier League crown four times, Azerbaijan Cup on three occasions and competed in the 2014-15 UEFA Europa Cup.
Since joining the national team in 2005, Agolli has been capped 73 times while scoring three goals and captaining the squad during Euro 2016.
The 2019 version of the Cosmos has another national team captain — Elmont High School graduate and forward Aaron Dennis, who will skipper the U.S. Virgin Islands national side against Anguilla in a Concacaf Nations League match Friday, March 22.