Usain Bolt poised for surprise trial with Aussie football club
SYDNEY - Agence France-Presse
Usain Bolt is on the verge of sealing a deal to trial with the A-League’s Central Coast Mariners, the Australian club said on July 17, as the sprint legend pursues his dream of playing professional football.
Eight-time Olympic champion Bolt, 31, who retired from athletics after August’s World Championships in London, is an avid Manchester United fan who has long dreamt of playing top-flight football.
The 100m and 200m world record-holder trained with Norwegian club Stromsgodset last month and Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund in March.
The planned arrangement will see him take part in a six-week trial starting next month at the Mariners’ base in Gosford, some 75 kilometers north of Sydney, chief executive Shaun Mielekamp said.
A season-long deal could follow if it goes well, he told commercial broadcaster Channel Seven.
Football agent Tony Rallis, who has been working on the deal, told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast Tuesday it has been agreed “in principle... subject to a couple of benchmarks.”
“Mainly, a trial, and of course marquee funds support from [governing body Football Federation Australia],” he said, adding that the arrangement was not a gimmick.
“Once the FFA comes back and says that they’ll be part of the process, we’re going to the trial... This bloke’s an ambitious athlete. The A-League needed a hero, and we got superman.”
Mielekamp said his club had been working on the agreement for four to five months, and there was still “some work to do.”
“But fingers crossed things might play out, but the most important thing is we wait to find out and see how good a footballer he is first.
“If all goes well, who knows? He may be playing in the A-League this season.”