Joe Cole showed on Saturday night that there’s plenty of magic left in his ageing legs as he scored a stunning bicycle kick to help the Tampa Bay Rowdies secure a 3-0 home win over Puerto Rico FC.
The 34-year-old playmaker, who joined the NASL club from Coventry City in May, opened the scoring just 10 minutes into the match at Al Lang Stadium, chesting the ball down from a throw-in inside the box before firing home in acrobatic fashion.
WHAT A GOAL BY JOE COLE! pic.twitter.com/ymaOsVySgQ— Tampa Bay Rowdies (@TampaBayRowdies) July 17, 2016
Fellow midfielder Eric Avila then put the hosts 2-0 up five minutes later with a superb long-range finish, before striker Tom Heinemann added a third in second-half stoppage time to ice the result.
Cole’s goal was the main talking point after the game, though, and Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell was full of praise for the former England and Chelsea star.
“I think there’s a couple of ‘Goal of the Season’ contenders there and I feel bad for Eric,” Campbell told rowdiessoccer.com at the final whistle. “He also had a fantastic goal. … I think Joe is going to get a bit of coverage — and quite rightly so.”
Cole himself added: “It was nice. It’s always nice to score the first goal in a game and it was a lovely goal. It’ll be a nice one to watch and send home for everyone to watch, but the main thing is that the team was excellent tonight.”
Cole played 22 times for Coventry last season after joining the Sky Blues from Midlands neighbours Aston Villa in October on a loan deal with later became permanent, recording two goals and six assists for the League One side.
He subsequently linked up with the Rowdies after his contract with Tony Mowbray’s men expired at the end of the campaign and has since netted two times in eight NASL appearances, while also adding three assists.
The three-time Premier League winner’s deal with the Florida outfit runs until the end of 2017 season, with a club option for 2018, but he has said that he would be open to returning to the Ricoh Arena on loan next winter once the NASL campaign comes to a conclusion.
“Who’s to say that that’s the end of the story?” Cole told the Coventry Observer before his move to the US. “I’m coming back from America for three-four months, I’ve spoken to the gaffer and although it’s a long way off, a lot can happen between now and then.”