Ansi Agolli (right) has trained with the Cosmos this week. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
By Michael Lewis
To put it simply, he has been signed, sealed and delivered.
Albanian national team captain Ansi Agolli has signed with the Cosmos, who are expected to announce the 36-year-old defender has signed a contract with the club.
Agolli has started training with the team. He attended the Cosmos’ 4-0 preseason win over Queens College at Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. Thursday, but did not play. He watched most of the match from the press box, wearing a Cosmos training uniform.
He joined the team Monday and is living with his wife and son in Astoria, Queens.
Agolli, who can play as a left back or left midfielder, is eager to play with the team. The earlier he could perform would be in another preseason encounter at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y. Monday night.
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 Cosmos will participate in three competitions this year — the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, National Premier Soccer League and the NPSL Founders Cup.