Ashley Cole is one of the most decorated soccer players in the world. The 36-year-old won four Premier League titles, seven FA Cups, and a UEFA Champions League crown before making the jump to MLS in 2016. Cole is one of the most experienced players on an LA Galaxy franchise that’s won the MLS Cup five times in franchise history. The London native recently traveled to New York with former Chelsea teammate Michael Essien to provide advice and soccer tips for Chelsea’s local partner FC Harlem.
Cole talked with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith about his illustrious career, his experience in Los Angeles, the future of the Galaxy and his charitable efforts away from soccer.
DJ Sixsmith: What are your earliest memories playing soccer?
Ashley Cole: My earliest memories were looking out my balcony window in my flat and seeing the grass down there. I would take my football down there and my brother and I would play together.
DS: You’ve spent a lot of time in Los Angeles since joining the LA Galaxy. What are some of your favorite things to do in LA?
AC: I’m not too sure. I’m kind of a home person. I like to take walks with my friends to the beaches. That’s about it. I have a busy schedule, so I don’t really have too much time to relax.
DS: You’ve been with the Galaxy since 2016. What does it mean to you to be a member of this iconic MLS franchise?
AC: It’s been good. I left Roma and went to LA for one the biggest teams and soccer franchises in MLS. It’s nice to be a part of it. They’ve won the most championships and hopefully next season we can win another one.
DS: You’ve won on some of the biggest stages in soccer and played for some of the game’s most recognizable teams. What have been the keys to your longevity and success in soccer?
AC: I’m not too sure. I think dedication and I’ve always shown over the years that I always wanted to win. I’d probably say those two things have been keys to my success and not wanting to lose.
DS: Soccer is popular on the world stage, but not the most popular sport in America. What else can be done to elevate the game here in the US?
AC: I think it’s done well. I think it’s a great achievement to have teams like Chelsea come out here. They don’t just play here and leave, they leave a footprint here and these young kids can meet their stars. Hopefully, they can look up to us and hopefully one days we can watch these kids on TV.
DS: You traveled to New York City for a soccer field dedication and clinic with local New York kids. What’s was the most rewarding part of this experience?
AC: It’s kind of been a big journey. Meeting with the kids in school was great. I did a little coaching session with them and it was cool to see smiles on their faces. There were some Chelsea fans and it was fun. Hopefully, one day we can come back to New York again.
DS: Finally, why did you want to get involved with the field dedication project in New York?
AC: It’s very important. Like I mentioned, I’ve come on a lot of trips here to America. Players only get to see the cities they play in, so for me to come back here after playing here not so long ago and see the progress of what Chelsea has done and see the reaction from this new fan base is brilliant for the club. Not many clubs do that. This is why I have love in my heart for Chelsea. They’re doing these types of things that other clubs aren’t doing.