Transferred from Ringwood Wilhelmina to Fitzroy Alexander (later called Heidelberg United) in 1976 for a transfer fee of 6,000 after 3 years at Ringwood. Cole became one of the early stars of the National Soccer League as a striker, scoring 88 goals in 6 seasons at Heidelberg. In 1984 Cole moved to rival NSL club Preston Lions FC after injuring his ankle badly in 1983, and went on to score 21 goals for the club before retiring in 1986.
On 14 August 1981, he scored seven goals against Fiji, and set an Australian record for the most goals scored in an international match. His record was broken in 2001, when Archie Thompson scored 13 goals against American Samoa.