The New York Cosmos have added some veteran leadership with the signing of Albanian national team captain Ansi Agolli.
Having played in more than 150 games at Qarabag in the Azerbaijan Premier League, Agolli has also appeared for the club in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. In October the 36-year old played 90 minutes in a Europa League Group Stage match against Premier League side Arsenal
Since arriving at the club in 2010, initially on loan, he has been a mainstay in the team, helping the club win five successive league titles.
“In Albania, when you say American soccer, Cosmos is the first names that come up,” Agolli said. “I know this club is about tradition and I will do my best to help the team and keep the tradition.”
In 2005, Agolli made his debut for Albania during a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier and has gone on to make 73 appearances. That mark ranks him in a tie for sixth on the nation’s all-time appearance list.
During UEFA 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 was still competing in the UEFA Nations League.
“We are incredibly excited to have Ansi with us this season,” said Joe Barone, Cosmos senior vice president. “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.”
“In the few days he has been here it’s obvious his quality, and Cosmos fans will enjoy watching him this season,” said Carlos Mendes, Cosmos coach. “Even with all he has accomplished, he is a humble player who comes to work hard every day in training.”