Former Olympic and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt controls the ball during a charity soccer match between members of the 1998 World Cup winning French team and a team of international veteran players at the U Arena in Nanterre, north of Paris, France. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

Usain Bolt to make run at pro soccer in Australia

Olympic sprint great has long expressed his love of the game

Usain Bolt is making a run at professional soccer in Australia.

The Olympic sprint great has long expressed his love of the game. Since his retirement from track, he has tested himself with Germany’s Borussia Dortmund and the Norwegian club Stromsgodset.

Now, at 31, he will try out for six weeks with the Central Coast Mariners starting next month. If all goes well, he could play for a season in Australia’s A-League.

Australian agent Tony Rallis said Monday the Mariners and Bolt have a deal in principle, “subject to a couple of benchmarks.”

Rallis said the eight-time Olympic gold medallist would have to go through a tryout, and the Football Federation Australia would have to support his salary.

“Once the FFA comes back and says that they’ll be part of the process, we’re going to the trial,” Rallis said.

The agent said the Mariners would guarantee 70 per cent of his salary and the FFA would be expected to pay the rest.

“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. This bloke’s an ambitious athlete. The A-League needed a hero and we got superman.”

Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp said there is still a lot of work to do, and the tryout is essential in determining the skill of the 6-foot-5 Jamaican.

“It would only be big if he can play and if he can go really, really well,” he said. “Because if he comes and he’s not up to the level then it actually has a detrimental effect.

“But if he comes and he’s as good as our reports are saying that he can be, then that would be very exciting and I’m sure that this stadium would be pretty full every time he put the boots on.”

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Alberni residents gather to protest racism

Peaceful Drive By Protest planned for Thursday

San Group opens new sawmill in B.C.

It’s the first mill in 15 years to be built on west coast

Drive-in movie coming to Port Alberni

Event limited to 50 vehicles due to COVID-19

City of Port Alberni’s security program open to all residents

Matching grant program offers 50 percent reimbursement for security upgrades

Hundreds of cars participate in second Port Alberni Cruise for Care

Event was a salute to frontline workers at seniors’ care homes

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Vancouver Island grizzlies: moving in, or just passing through?

Lack of data makes seeming increase in grizzly sightings on the North Island an open question

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Most Read