Ashley Cole had a tumultuous one and a half seasons at Roma. After a decorated 15-season run in England, mostly at Arsenal and Chelsea, Cole moved to Italy thinking he could establish himself in Serie A. Instead, he only made 16 appearances with Roma and disputed over his contract for much of his time there. Cole turned 35 in December 2015 and was left to figure out if he still had a home in the soccer world.

That January, a call came from the United States. Bruce Arena, then-manager of the LA Galaxy, still had a need for Cole's left back services.

"I remember I spoke to him on the phone for like 20 minutes and the next day, I got another call saying that, 'Hopefully, you can come over and play for us,'" Cole remembers. "And I had friends that were in LA at the time and they told me how fun he is to work with, so I jumped at the chance. It was nice for me to have an opportunity back playing football. He said that I'm old, but he'll take it easy on me. So, it was nice. I still keep in touch with him."

Cole just finished his second season in Los Angeles last month. He has made 55 appearances in two years. Of course, Arena was not around to manage him in Season 2. The 66-year-old was managing the U.S, and he failed to qualify the nation for the 2018 World Cup. Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann and inherited an 0-2 record and a -5 goal differential.

Cole represented England at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups. In 2010, The Three Lions tied the United States, 1-1, in the opening match of Group Play. Living in the U.S. the past two years, Cole had a front-row seat to the American struggles of the 2018 qualifying cycle.

"I'm not too sure," Cole says when asked what went wrong for Arena and the U.S. "I think there's probably deeper issues, Bruce came in and tried to do as best as he could. It didn't work out, but now hopefully, they can analyze what the problems are and they can figure it out. It's not the end of the world."

Bruce Arena, Ashley Cole

Cole spoke to ThePostGame on behalf of Chelsea FC, as he and former teammate Michael Essien accompanied the Premier League trophy through its recent tour of New York City. Essien, now a member of Persib Bandung of Indonesia, played against the U.S. in two World Cups -- 2006 and 2014 -- and his native Ghana also took on the U.S. in 2010 when he was out due to injury.

"It's kind of a shame, but this happens in football," Essien says. "You just have to forget about it, be a spectator, make your homework, and hopefully, you can qualify for the next World Cup.

"There are still more years ahead of them and they have good young players coming through.

"Of course they are getting better. I lost to them in Brazil. That tells you how good they are becoming. And there's a lot of work to do, and I'm sure in a few years to come, they will do well."

Cole and Essien participated in a youth clinic with FC Harlem on Tuesday at Frederick Douglass Academy in New York City. Cole and Essien helped dedicate a new FC Harlem field, which will open in summer/fall 2018, below Riverside State Park.

-- Follow Jeff Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband. Like Jeff Eisenband on Facebook.

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