Ansi Agolli with Cosmos head coach Carlos Mendes and senior vice president Joe Barone. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
NEW YORK – It’s official. The Cosmos have signed Albanian national team captain Ansi Agolli.
Last Friday FrontRowSoccer.com reported that the National Premier Soccer League team would announce Agolli’s signing. The club made the announcement Monday.
The 36-year-old left back brings a wealth of experience on the international and club level with him to New York.
“I feel very comfortable,” said Agolli, who trained with the team last week. “It’s like a family inside the locker room. I’m very excited and looking forward to the games and getting results with the team.
“In Albania, when you say American soccer, Cosmos is the first names that comes up. I know this club is about tradition and I will do my best to help the team and keep the tradition.”
Agolli played in more than 150 games at Qarabag in the Azerbajian Premier League as well as featuring for the club in both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, playing all 90 minutes in October in a Europa League group stage match against Arsenal.
Video courtesy of the Cosmos Facebook page
Since Agolli arrived at the club in 2010, initially on loan, he had been a mainstay in the team, helping the club win five successive league titles.
In 2005, Agolli made his debut for Albania during a 2006 World Cup qualifier and made 73 appearances. That mark ranked him in a tie for sixth on Albania’s all-time appearance list.
During Euro 2016, Agolli played every minute during the group stage and took the captain’s armband for the rest of the tournament after Lorik Cana was sent off with a red card in Albania’s opening match. He was called up as recently as September 2018 when Albania competed in the UEFA Nations League.
Agolli joined his hometown club, Tirana, at the age of nine before becoming a first-team player in the 2000-01 season. With Tirana, Agolli was a part of three league championship sides.
He has also featured in the top divisions in Switzerland and Finland.
“We are incredibly excited to have Ansi with us this season,” Cosmos senior vice president Joe Barone said. “His experience in the game speaks for itself and we feel he will have a tremendous impact on the field this season, not just with his ability, but also setting an example for our younger players in the team.”
Added head coach Carlos Mendes: “In the few days he has been here it’s obvious his quality, and Cosmos fans will enjoy watching him this season. Even with all he has accomplished, he is a humble player who comes to work hard every day in training.”
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