Usain Bolt leaves the Mariners: is his football dream over?
Olympic sprinting legend’s trial spell ends with the A-League side
Jamaican athletics icon Usain Bolt has left the Central Coast Mariners after his football trial with the Australian club ended today.
The eight-time Olympic gold medal winner scored twice for the A-League side since joining them in August for an “indefinite training period”, the BBC reports.
However, despite featuring in friendly matches for the Mariners he did not appear in their opening two league fixtures.
The New South Wales side had been in contract negotiations with the 32-year-old and his representatives but Sky Sports reports that a commercial deal was unable to be agreed.
Bolt said: “I would like to thank the Central Coast Mariners owners, management, staff, players and fans for making me feel so welcome during my time there. I wish the club success for the season ahead.”
Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth added: “Despite the fact that we could not come to an agreement that would continue Usain Bolt’s football journey with the Central Coast Mariners, we’ve been thrilled to have the Olympic champion sprinter and world record holder as part of our club for these past eight weeks.
“For the Mariners, it’s been a pleasure to work with Usain as he pursued his desire to become a professional football player.”
What next for Bolt?
Since retiring from athletics last year Bolt has spoken about his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
During his eight weeks with the Mariners he was also offered a two-year contract to join Maltese champions Valletta. However, he turned down the move to continue his trial in Australia.
Speaking to CNN last month Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms said: “Usain will not be accepting the offer. There has been a lot of interest in Usain and his football career. We regularly receive these kinds of offers. The difference here is that this offer was received through the media, not confidentially.”
With his options now open, Bolt was this week urged to join a Jamaican club and press his claims for a place in his country’s international squad.
Jamaican FA president Michael Ricketts told ESPN: “I am a little disappointed that Usain hasn’t signed up with a Jamaican club. That would give us a chance to see a lot more of him.
“If he shows he’s good enough to make the Jamaican team then he will be called up, but we are following his progress - we are watching him closely. The coach will make a decision but we would love to see him in a serious, real match situation.
“We are hopeful because Usain would certainly be a crowd puller. If he turns up in a Jamaican outfit then a lot of people would want to turn up and watch Usain Bolt play football.”