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Usain Bolt to make Central Coast Mariners debut on Friday as Olympic legend continues bid to become professional footballer


NEW CAREER

The 100m and 200m world record holder will play in his first competitive match down under against a Select XI

Usain Bolt is set to make his professional football debut on Friday.

The Olympic sprint legend, 32, is on trial with Australian top-flight club Central Coast Mariners and will appear in a friendly against a Select XI at the Central Coast Stadium.

Usain Bolt will play in his first competitive game down under

Bolt has long spoken of his ambition to become a professional footballer.

He spent time with teams in Germany and Norway before heading down under to link up with the Mariners for an “indefinite training period” earlier this month.

The A-League side’s head coach Mike Mulvey said: “It comes down to what the fitness coaches tell me with regards to how his body’s coping with the loading we’ve got at the moment. But I would imagine he’s going to be playing some part on Friday.

“When you do track and field it’s virtually a straight line and a track coach will never ask you to decelerate or accelerate the way that we do, it’s multidirectional movement in football, so he has to get used to that.

“I’m quite pleased with the way he’s progressing, and he’ll be sore every night, because the sessions are quite gruelling, but he’s determined.”

Usain Bolt in training with the Mariners ahead of his debut

Usain Bolt in training with the Mariners ahead of his debut

The 100m and 200m world-record holder admits he is finding the demands of football training tough, but is hopeful of earning a contract ahead of the new season, which starts in October.

The Mariners finished last season bottom of the pile with only four wins in 27 matches and Bolt said he was determined to make a difference in Gosford.

He said: “I expect to make mistakes. I also expect I’ll go and make myself proud, and to push myself. I know I’m not going to have the perfect game.

“The season doesn’t start until the end of October, so I have time.

“It’s just about being focused, taking my time, being smart and pushing myself to get to the level I need to get to be in the starting 11.

“It’s just time. I don’t know how my body is going to feel. I know when I get on the field, I’m always going to push myself to the limit.”

The Jamaican watched from the sidelines and posed for selfies with fans last weekend as the Mariners and local rivals Newcastle Jets drew 2-2 in a pre-season friendly in Maitland.



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