World's Fastest Man Usain Bolt Set To Make His Professional Football Debut On Friday.

Eight times Olympic gold medalist and 100m/200m world record holder Usain Bolt, is set to fulfill his childhood dreams of becoming a soccer star when he features for Australian A-League Side, Central Coast Mariners Football Club on Friday.

Despite expressing concerns about his form, which saw him struggle with the physical demands of professional football, the team coach Mike Mulvey has hinted that he could be included in the starting line up.

The 32yr old Jamaican joined the Australian A-League side for an "indefinite training period" sometimes in August.
The Mariners will face an amateur side in a pre-season friendly on Friday.

Central Coast Mariners Football Club is an Australian professional soccer club based in Gosford, on the Central Coast of New South Wales. It competes in the A-League, under licence from Football Federation Australia. The Mariners were founded in 2004 as one of the eight original A-League teams.

According to coach Mike Mulvey, Bolt has "rudimentary skills", adding: "I imagine he'll get some minutes."

Mulvey stated that the 100m and 200m world record holder was "doing OK" however, he would take some time "to adjust".

He said: "The things we are asking him to do are things that he hasn't done for quite some years.
He has played football as an athlete in between athletic meets so he has rudimentary skills. It's about being able to do it at the speed that we do it."

The 11-time world sprint champion has featured on the left flank in training but said he still needs to "get up to pace" with the stop-start nature of football matches.

"Because I'm not used to picking up speed, going back down, up and down, up and down, back and forth, that's the most challenging," Bolt said.

"The Australian A-League season doesn't start until the end of October so I have time."

Usain Bolt, who who announced his retirement from athletics in 2017 after losing to Justin Gatlin, had a training stint with Borussia Dortmund, South African club Mamelodi Sundowns and Norway's Stromsgodset.

He said as a Child, he had always "dreamed" of playing professional football and was starting to see improvements in his game.

"For me it's about just getting fit and as many touches of the ball that I can. The more I play, the more comfortable I get," he said.

Usain Bolt says he will get a professional contract with the Central Coast Mariners in four months.

It may have just dawned on him the enormity of the challenge ahead, but Usain Bolt is confident he’ll have a contract in four months time.

The 32-year-old was handed his Central Coast Mariners debut against a Central Coast Select team and had just over 20 minutes to provide a glimpse of his football skills.

A few touches let him down and he needs to work on his awareness, but Bolt believes as soon as his fitness is up to speed he will be in a position to earn himself his first professional contract

“In four months time I’ll be fit and I’ll be getting a lot more time on the ball,” Bolt said.

“I personally feel I’ll get a contract by then and I’ll be playing more time. It’s just about working and taking my time, but I think in four months I’ll be one of the boys.”

Bolt described his debut as “okay”, but admits there is work to be done as he embarks on his new career a decade after he won the first of his Olympic gold medals.

“When I started track and field I didn’t know how great I was going to be. I’m looking at football just like that,” he said.

“I’m starting my career now and I don’t know how great it’s going to be, but I’m going to enjoy the journey and put my all into it.

“It’s all about getting the touches and I felt okay”.

Bolt has only been in the country for two weeks and hasn’t done much training since he retired from track and field just over a year ago, so Mariners coach Mike Mulvey was reluctant to judge his performance.

“A friend once said do not ever ask anyone to do something technical and tactical unless you’ve got the physical capability to do it,” Mulvey said.

“So I’m not going to judge him on whether he can zip past somebody or get on the end of a header - we’ve got to get him fit.”

Speaking to Mariner Football Club Media, he said: "I am very happy to get the chance to go out there and start, and di my best because that is the key thing."

"This will be a Big game. I think it will determine if the club makes up it's mind on what to do with my career. So, for me it is a very important game."

By: Onwordi Ngozi Fortune

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