Ashley Cole and Jelle Van Damme had their official unveiling with the LA Galaxy on Friday, as they spoke to media for the first time about joining their new club.
With coach Bruce Arena at their side, both players spoke about their willingness to join the five-time MLS Cup champions and on their intent on winning more trophies with the Galaxy.
Unsurprisingly, echos on comments Ashley Cole made about MLS have carried all the way back to southern California. In 2014, Cole reportedly turned down offers to join MLS Clubs, claiming he wasn't ready to "relax on a beach".
But the 35-year-old started off by taking full responsibility for the statement , saying "I am not going to come here and try to defend myself, if it was said."
Rather than shrugging off the quote, Cole explained it was taken out of context. " I was talking to the reporter before, and he kind of said to me, 'Oh, we are glad to have you at Roma. We didn't expect you to be here, we thought you would go and relax on a beach.'"
"You have to understand I was at a new team. I have to tell the fans at Rome that I was here to fight, there to win things, and play in the Champions League in Europe," Cole said. " I have to deal with it, and I hope I can change the views of me coming here, playing on the pitch, and playing as good as I can."
On the other hand, Van Damme was all cheers, even jokingly answering "the beach" when his teammate was asked why he chose the Galaxy.
"I am happy to be here," exclaimd Van Damme. "I think i'ts the biggest club in MLS, and so hopefully we can win some trophies,"
Both players are expected to make their official debut when the Galaxy begin another busy calendar year on February 24 against Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League.