(Reuters) - Former Chelsea and Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole is set to leave Coventry City and join Tampa Bay Rowdies in the North American Soccer League.
The 34-year-old joined Coventry on a free transfer from Aston Villa in January after completing a loan spell at the League One (third-tier) club.
“Joe’s going to join Tampa Bay and it might happen pretty quickly if he can get international clearance, etc,” Coventry boss Tony Mowbray told the Coventry Telegraph, adding that the out-of-contract midfielder would have been offered fresh terms had he opted to stay in England.
“I would have liked to have kept Joe, who I think has proven his fitness and worth to the team. He’s a fantastic character around our building -- no airs and graces, not looking for favors or extra days off,” Mowbray added.
“I think Joe can help us control soccer matches but he’s made his decision for his family, and we wish him well because he’s been fantastic for our dressing room and this soccer club.”
Cole began his career at West Ham United before moving to Chelsea in 2003. He made 183 appearances for the Blues, winning the Premier League and the FA Cup three times.
The midfielder also earned 56 caps and scored 10 goals for England.
Cole returned to West Ham in 2013 after a move to Liverpool and a loan spell at French Ligue 1 side Lille.
He was released by the Hammers in 2014 and moved to Aston Villa, for whom he made 16 appearances in total, before joining Coventry.
Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien