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Usain Bolt the Footballer is ‘Improving’, Chasing a Pro Career Down Under

The greatest sprinter of all time, Usain Bolt, retired from athletics in 2017 and is pursuing his dream of playing professional football, trying out with A-League side Central Coast Mariners in Australia.
Usain Bolt at Central Coast Mariners

Usain Bolt played 45 minutes for A-League side Central Coast Mariners in a friendly against North Shore Mariners in Australia on September 25 (Pic: Twitter).

Usain Bolt is in Australia at the moment and is working hard, trying to earn a contract as a professional footballer. Bolt can obviously run fast, but, when the Jamaican, now 31, turned his focus on football after a decorated career in athletics, he realised that the beautiful game requires more than raw pace.  

On trial with A-League side Central Coast Mariners, Bolt feels he is improving after training with the squad, and was very happy with his performance in a friendly on September 25. Bolt played 45 minutes for the Gosford-based (New South Wales) side in the match against North Shore Mariners — the match was played behind closed doors — and impressed the side’s management team as well.

The 31-year-old made his debut for the Mariners in August, and played for them again this week. “I’m definitely excited and if I get to start it will be a big thing for me,” Bolt told the club’s website. “It would show that the work that I’ve been putting in is really paying off and the coach has confidence in me. So that would be a big step for me.”

For Bolt, used to high intensity bursts, playing long minutes was always a challenge. Before joining Mariners, he had training stints with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, South African club Mamelodi Sundowns and Stromsgodset in Norway. On those occasions, he never had prolonged outings, even during practice matches. Bolt attributed his improvement to the systematic training he has been putting in.  

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“Playing 45 minutes for me [against North Shore] was good. In the last 10 minutes I started to get tired but I pushed through and that’s because of training,” he added. “I feel like I’m improving. My touch is getting better, I’ve got a while to go but with more training and more dedication to my craft I will be fine.”

Bolt plays as a striker and is keen to get off the mark with a goal or two for the side. He will get one more chance to hit the back of the net when Central Coast face Macarthur South West United on October 12. A goal would ease the pressure, believes Bolt.

“Getting more minutes in games is the aim. For me, I am really looking forward to October 12th and like always, going out there and doing my best,” he said. “For me to score, it would be a big thing. The Central Coast Mariners took a chance on me and the best way that I can pay them back is to score goals. If I could score a goal for this club, that would mean I am heading in the right direction and showing the club that their chance in me is paying off.

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“It would take a lot of pressure off me, as an attacker it’s something that would be good but for me I am just going to work, push myself and hope everything comes together when it matters,” he added.

Mariners head coach Mike Mulvey said the club is more than happy to give Bolt the support needed to improve as he needs time to bloom into a footballer capable of handling the challenges of club competition.

“Usain is progressing and that’s the main thing. From the outset, we said he needed time, we said we would give him 12 months if need be,” said Mulvey.

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