One of the most important pieces of the re-boot Cosmos has returned. On Tuesday, the Cosmos announced the return of Spanish left-back Ayoze. Reports out of Spain have the left-back returning with a three year deal.
— Radio MARCA Tenerife (@RadioMarcaTfe) January 30, 2017
The 31-year-old was the fourth player signed to begin the reboot era Cosmos, coming to New York after a healthy career in Spain with his hometown CD Tenerife and Sporting de Gjión. He spent seven years with Tenerife, appearing in 162 games and helping his hometown sign get promoted in 2009. After the club was relegated in 2010, Ayoze joined Sporting de Gijón, where he made 28 appearances over two years, registering one lone goal.
“Ayoze brings great quality to the team,” said Cosmos Head Coach Gio Savarese in a press release. “He is very talented with a lot of experience. He is part of the core of our defense and I’m happy to have him back with us this season.”
Over his three year period with the Cosmos, Ayoze has quickly become one of the best left backs in the NASL. 2015 saw him receive Emirates Player of the Year honors for his 1 goal and 5 assists across 27 games for the Cosmos. The Spaniard’s importance to the club only increased this past year, with injuries and player sales forcing the Cosmos to run lean on the back line. He registered club career highs in games played (30) and minutes (2553). He also registered a pass completion percentage of 80 percent
“I am happy to rejoin the Cosmos, my intention was always to be here this year so I am happy that the team survived. I’ve had many discussions with Gio and feel confident that the club will continue in the right direction,” commented Ayoze, in a the same release.
For most of this offseason, however, Ayoze’s return seemed to be up in the air. The left-back was by far the most publicly jaded Cosmos player following this offseason’s turmoil, slamming Cosmos management and suggesting the club should have gone MLS “from the beginning” in an interview with MARCA in December. Furthermore, the Canary Islands native was long rumored to be chasing a move to MLS, telling Radio Marca Tenerife that he had a year left on his deal, but would make the decision between staying and departing for MLS “calmly”.
It was the same radio outlet in Tenerife that this week would report Ayoze’s return, with the him telling the station “My family greatly influenced me to make the decision to return to New York.”
Ayoze is the fourteenth player to sign for the Cosmos ahead of the 2017 NASL Season, and his return brings the starting back line of the 2016 NASL Champions back once again.