Joe Cole has followed Lampard and Gerrard with move to the US

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In recent years, a host of veteran English players have crossed the pond to ply their trade in the United States.

From Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ashley Cole and David Beckham, to Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, Major League Soccer has provided a home for a number of former England internationals late in their career.

And that trend looks set to continue with news today that Joe Cole will be the latest to head state-side. According to his most recent manager in England, Coventry City's Tony Mowbray, however, it won't be for the United States' top professional league.


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"Joe's going to join Tampa Bay and it might happen pretty quickly if he can get international clearance etc," Mowbray said when speaking to the Coventry Telegraph, via ITV Sports.

The Tampa Bay team Mowbray referred to is the Tampa Bay Rowdies, a professional team who are part of the North American Soccer League (NASL). NASL is effectively the second division in the U.S., but it is not linked to the higher profile MLS.

Cole - who has played 23 times for Coventry this season - certainly won't be seeing any of the multi-million dollar 'Designated Player' money that his former Three Lions teammates are, or where, on.

According to BBC Sport, the deal with Tampa is for one year with an option of a second-year extension.

Although the English league season is coming to an end this month, a move to the Rowdies in the near future would allow Cole to join the team in the early stages of their campaign.

After five games, Tampa is fifth in the league, one point beyond the New York Cosmos for whom Pele famously played and who can boast former Premier League player Niko Kranjcar on their current roster.

The transfer won't be the first time Cole plays his football abroad. The former West Ham, Chelsea, Liverpool and Aston Villa midfielder played for Lille in Ligue 1 during the 2011-12 season.

Capped 56 times by England between 2001 and 2010, the 34-year-old may never have foreseen a future in the lower leagues of United States football.

Nevertheless, like so many former EPL stars who have gone down that route before him, his arrival in Tampa Bay will likely see him regain the headline-grabbing status he once held during his early '00s prime.

There will be a few NASL players who discover in the near future exactly why Cole was once considered one of English football's most naturally gifted talents.

As for the player himself, he will likely discover just why players are increasingly opting for the hot climate of the States, rather than continuing to slide down the English football pyramid.

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West Ham United
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