It would be understatement to say that the eight-time Olympic sprint champion raised a few eyebrows in 2016 when he announced that he’s gonna try himself in professional football after the end of his athletic career. Not many people actually believed that Usain Bolt had the talent to play football at a professional level. And his ambitions did seem too far-fetched. In an interview for The Guardian, Bolt stated that his dream was to become a Manchester United player.
Rewind two years to the future and Bolt is making his first steps into making his dream a reality. Unfortunately, it might be too late. At 32 years of age, he cannot just slip into a squad of a big-name team; he needs to start from the bottom.
That’s why he picked a team from Norway to be his first stepping stone. Strømsgodset is the team in which Usain Bolt made his debut as a footballer. Sure, it was a friendly game, but he did get to play aside real professionals. Norway national under-19 team was their opponent and the youngsters were able to beat Bolt’s team 1:0.
Spell at Central Coast Mariners
He didn’t have an impressive debut, but that didn’t stop Bolt from keeping his dream alive. On his birthday (August, 21), he made a deal with an Australian A-League team called Central Coast Mariners. After training with them for almost three months, he was finally offered a professional contract. Of course, such a small team as Central Coast Mariners don’t have enough money to pay for the salary of the fastest man alive, which is why Australian FA had to intervene.
As a way of promoting football in Australia, where Aussie Rules is by far the most popular sport, the Australian FA decided to pay a portion of his salary in order to keep him tied to Mariners. And such a decision was met with a lot of controversy, both from the public and from the players in the A-League.
Although having the man who ran 100 meters in 9.58 seconds in the squad is definitely an amazing publicity stunt, the question is how can a 32-year-old guy with no previous experience in professional football contribute to the team. And even if he can make the team better, does he really deserve to have a much higher salary than everyone else?
These are the questions that the players (and club owners) in Australia started asking. Furthermore, some players publicly stated that they doubt Bolt has the skills to play football at a professional level, even in a team from Australian league.
And the final kick in the teeth to Bolt’s spell at the Mariners is that once the season started, they started losing games. Right now, they’re at the very bottom of the table, which shows that Bolt’s presence hasn’t helped them much. As a result, Bolt and the Mariners ended up parting ways. After only two months in the club, Usain Bolt has officially left Central Coast Mariners.
According to the man himself, Usain Bolt is currently weighing his options, trying to figure out what’s the best move for him at this stage – should he give up or give his footballing career another chance?
As per latest reports, numerous clubs are interested in his services. Unfortunately for the Lightning Bolt, none of those are A-list teams. Some of the clubs that plan to approach him include Valletta FC from Malta, Blackburn Rovers, and so on. The big questions is whether those clubs actually have the funds to meet his salary demands?