World's Fastest Man Usain Bolt Looks To Play Professional Soccer In Australia
on Jul 18, 2018 07:13 AM EDT
Former sprinter Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, will try to pursue his dream of becoming a football player as he agreed to a six-week deal to play for Australian club Central Coast Mariners.
Bolt, who won eight Olympic gold medals with Jamaica, recently retired from international competition after setting world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter events. Bolt tallied 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash, which he both recorded in Berlin in 2009.
Upon his retirement, Bolt expressed his interest in becoming a professional football player. Bolt recently trained with Germany's Borussia Dortmund and Norway's Stromsgodset, but he never played professionally.
Now, his dream is getting close to becoming a reality, as he agreed in principle to a deal with Central Coast Mariners, a team in the A-League competition. Run by Football Federation Australia, the A-League is considered as the country's top professional soccer tier.
Bolt Could Also Sign Long-Term Deal
According to Tony Rallis, Bolt's football agent, negotiations are still ongoing regarding his client's pay. Rallis says that the owner of Central Coast Mariners has agreed to guarantee 70 percent of Bolt's salary, which could be in the multi-million level, per News Corp Australia.
"If he's competitive, he will lift our A-League profile," Rallis said. "He will create dreams for young people and he will give the A-League a profile no amount of money can buy."
According to Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp, the team spent four months in convincing Bolt to sign. Mielekamp added that a season-long deal with Bolt could be in the works.
"If all goes well, who knows? He may be lighting up the A-League this season," said Mielekamp.
Bolt's Signing Not A Publicity Stunt
Mielekamp also clarified that the signing is not a publicity stunt, and they believe that Bolt could actually play, based on reports from Borussia Dortmund and Stromsgodset.
"Apart from him obviously being extremely fast the feedback we have received from Germany and Norway is that he is a very good learner and shows dramatic improvement after every training session," Mielekamp said.
"This is a very real football opportunity, this is not a stunt or gimmick — we want to know if Usain can play," stressed Mielekamp, adding that if Bolt can play, he will bring the competition in the A-League to a whole new level.
According to Mielekamp, Bolt might play for the Mariners at some point during the 2018-19 A-League season, which is composed of a 27-match regular season. The team opens its campaign against Brisbane Roar FC on Oct. 21.