Usain Bolt leaves Central Coast Mariners after trial with Australian club ends

2 Nov

Usain Bolt’s dreams of becoming a professional football has hit a huge snag, with the announcement that his trial at Australian club Central Coast Mariners is over.

The A-League outfit confirmed on Friday morning they were parting ways with the 32-year-old, who was on an indefinite trial.

Usain Bolt has left Aussie club Central Coast Mariners

The eight-time Olympic gold medalist played 95 minutes in two trial games for the side, scoring two goals.

Bolt was offered a contract by the Mariners, but the club said it would need investment from a third party to make the deal happen.

The club, Bolt and his agent Ricky Simms were in talks over a commercial-based deal with the Australian club, but said they will not be “able to settle on a suitable deal in a timely manner”.

The Jamaican 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.”

Bolt wore the number 95 – a nod to his world record 9.58 100m time

Bolt’s brace came in a friendly against Macarthur South West United, with on-loan strike partner Ross McCormack saying: “If he pulls it all together, he can be some threat”.

But former Republic of Ireland international Andy Keogh – who plays for Perth Glory – was less taken by Bolt, saying the sprint star had a first touch “like a trampoline” and that giving him a pro deal would be “farcical”.

Central Coast Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth wished Bolt well for the future.

He said: “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.

“From day one, Usain dedicated himself to being part of the Mariners. He integrated very well into the team and made great strides as a footballer.

“Most notable, was his performance in Campbelltown where he scored two goals helping the Mariners secure a 4-0 win against Macarthur South West United.

“Whilst we understand that Usain will not be part of the club going forward, the Central Coast Mariners wish him all the best in his future endeavours and we hope that opportunities arise to collaborate in other capacities in the future.”

Giving Usain Bolt a professional contract would be ‘farcical’, blasts former Premier League striker now in A-League

26 Oct

Usain Bolt will never make it as a footballer, according to former Premier League and current A-League striker Andy Keogh, who says the Olympic legend’s first touch is ‘like a trampoline’.

Usain Bolt turning pro would be a ‘kick in the teeth’ for proper footballers, says Keogh

The greatest sprinter of all-time has been offered a contract by Australian side Central Coast Mariners following a trial period with the club.

The Australian FA has said it is working with the Mariners to help fund a deal for the 32-year-old Jamaican.

But Keogh, the former Wolves star now playing for Perth Glory in the A-League, is unconvinced by Bolt’s ability and says giving him a contract would be ‘facial’ and would make a mockery of the game.

“It’s nice to have the attention on the A-League but him playing in the A-League, that’s not for me,” Keogh told Off the Ball.

“For me, he’s not going to be able to make it [as a footballer].

“He’s shown a bit [of potential] but it’s a little bit of a kick in the teeth to the professionals that are in the league.”

Bolt scored twice for Central Coast Mariners in a recent friendly

Asked about the Jamaican’s first touch, he added: “From what I’ve seen, it’s like a trampoline, so I’m not too sure.

“If there’s someone who genuinely thinks he’d be a good football addition, I don’t think they should be in a position to make those calls.

“It’s fine from a marketing point of view but from a football perspective, it’s a little bit farcical.

“He says he’s chasing a dream of becoming a professional footballer yet he’s come out with quotes about he wants X amount [of money] when, if you’re chasing the dream, it’s not about the money and he’s obviously contradicted himself massively there.”

Keogh left Blackpool to move to Australian football in 2014
Keogh played in the Premier League for Wolves, making 129 appearances and scoring 23 goals in six years with the club

Bolt, who holds the 100m and 200m world records, retired from athletics last year.

The Mariners have said that “without the contribution of an external third party” it was unlikely that Bolt and the club would agree terms.

Bolt turned down a two-year deal with Maltese champions Valletta FC earlier this month.

Usain Bolt: Olympic legend ‘unlikely’ to sign Central Coast Mariners contract without ‘financial contribution from third party’, reveal Australian club

23 Oct

Usain Bolt is ‘unlikely’ to sign a contract with Central Coast Mariners ‘without financial contribution of an external third party’, the Australian club have announced.

The Jamaican icon has been offered a professional football contract with the A-League side, having impressed on a trial.

There has been worldwide interest in Bolt’s performances for Central Coast Mariners

The 32-year-old former sprinter, winner of eight Olympic gold medals, joined the club on a ‘indefinite trial’ over the summer and recently scored his first two goals in a friendly.

It appears Bolt, a Manchester United fan who has dreamed of becoming a professional footballer, has won a few admirers with his performances, with recent reports claiming a Champions League-chasing club were interested in his services.

It appears he has impressed Central Coast Mariners chiefs enough for them to offer him a deal, too.


WATCH: Usain Bolt opens account with two goals for on-trial club Central Coast Mariners


However, the Aussie club have conceded it is unlikely they will agree terms without financial help.

In a statement posted on the club’s official website, the Mariners said: “The Central Coast Mariners and Usain Bolt’s representative Ricky Simms have progressed contract discussions and would like to offer clarity around the negotiations between the club and Usain Bolt.

“The club can confirm that a contract proposal has been offered by the Central Coast Mariners and negotiations remain ongoing with Usain Bolt and his management regarding his football future.

Bolt wears the number 95 – a nod to his world record 9.58 100m time

“Both parties are eager to explore all options and ensure that if there is a suitable way forward for both player and club, the two parties will keep working together and formalise an agreement.

“The Central Coast Mariners want to ensure that Usain Bolt is given every chance possible to fulfil his dream to become a professional football player.”

Bolt’s brace came earlier this month in a friendly against Macarthur South West, having joined the club in August for a training period.

“There are two main terms of discussion involved in this negotiation – football and commercial,” the Mariners added.

“Regarding the football terms of the negotiations, Usain has made great progression during his time on the Central Coast and we feel that he will improve further with more individual intensive training and competitive game time.

Earlier this year, Bolt spent time training with Borussia Dortmund

“We are looking at ways to do this as the club does not have the luxury to be able to do this in the Hyundai A-League.

“Regarding the commercial terms of the negotiations, Usain Bolt’s management and the Central Coast Mariners are in conversations with external partners to find a commercial solution that suits all parties.

“It is important to note that contract values speculated in the media are incorrect. Without the financial contribution of an external third party, it is unlikely that Usain Bolt and the Central Coast Mariners will agree to terms.

“To ensure that there is no distraction to the Hyundai A-League squad in preparing for this weekend’s match versus Melbourne City, Usain Bolt will not attend team training this week, until and if the club and Usain Bolt can agree to terms and formalise an arrangement.”

Bolt completed the ‘triple-treble’ by winning the 100m, 200m and 4x100m golds at the 2016 Olympics in Rio

Usain Bolt: Eight-time Olympic gold medallist offered professional contract with Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners

21 Oct

Former Olympic sprinting sensation Usain Bolt has been offered a professional contract by A-League club Central Coast Mariners.

Bolt, an eight-time gold medallist was on trial with the New South Wales club and even bagged his first goals during a friendly last weekend.

Bolt is also fielding an offer from a side based in Malta

WATCH: Usain Bolt and Ross McCormack start up front for Australian club Central Coast Mariners – and score three goals

It now seems he will be given a chance to play his way into contention.

“I can confirm Usain has been offered a contract by Central Coast Mariners,” Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms said in a statement.

Bolt began a trial with the A-League club in August, following short spells trying out in Germany, Norway and South Africa.

Coach Mike Mulvey, following Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Brisbane Roar in the season opener, refused to be drawn on Bolt’s future when asked about it in his post-match press conference.

“We don’t talk about speculation. I don’t know anything about that. It is a few pay-grades above my level,” he said.

“I do appreciate how important this story is for the rest of the world. You’re just talking about speculation, I don’t know anything about what you’re talking about and that’s the God’s honest truth.

“You have a look at our front line today and you wonder whether he could get into any of those positions, wouldn’t you?”

Usain Bolt offered contract by Maltese club Valletta FC as they chase Champions League qualification

The Jamaican is best known for his days as a sprinter

WATCH: Usain Bolt and Ross McCormack start up front for Australian club Central Coast Mariners – and score three goals

12 Oct

Move over Henry and Bergkamp, Cole and Yorke, Suarez and Sturridge – there’s a new star strike duo in town…

Usain Bolt, the greatest sprinter of all time, and Aston Villa reject Ross McCormack formed an unlikely partnership as they started up front for Australian club Central Coast Mariners on Friday.

Usain Bolt scored his maiden goals as a professional footballer

They combined to score three goals between them, with Bolt netting a brace on his first start in professional football.

What a time to be alive!

The game was a pre-season friendly in New South Wales against Macarthur South West United – a side made up of the best players from teams in the region.

It provided Bolt with his latest run-out, having joined the Australian club – whose sporting director is former Manchester United assistant coach Mike Phelan – on an ‘indefinite’ trial in the summer.

Still yet to be handed a professional contract, Bolt failed to score on his debut in August, but found the net twice on his first start for the side on Friday, playing alongside Scotland international McCormack.

Bolt wears the number 95 – a nod to his world record 9.58 100m time

McCormack also joined the Mariners this summer, signing on loan from Aston Villa, and he too netted in the 4-0 victory.

It’s been a rollercoaster two years for the 32-year-old, who was one of the Championship’s top players with Fulham before leaving to join Villa in 2016.

It was claimed he moved to have a better chance to play Premier League football, but fell out of favour at Villa Park. Two years later, Fulham are in the top flight and he’s on loan in Australia.

However, starting alongside and scoring with a true sporting legend will surely be a career highlight – if a bizarre one.

Watch McCormack and Bolt’s goals below!

 

 

Usain Bolt makes Central Coast Mariners debut in emphatic pre-season victory

31 Aug

Usain Bolt expects to be up to speed within a month after making a 20-minute debut for Central Coast Mariners in pre-season.

The 32-year-old former sprinter was introduced to the game with Mariners leading a Central Coast Select XI 6-1, though he failed to cap his appearance with a goal in the emphatic defeat.

Bolt was called off the bench for the final 20 minutes of the match

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist had seven touches of the ball and came close to getting on the end of a cross towards the end of the match, though he appeared to be struggling for fitness as the final whistle drew close.

After the match, he said: “I think the first 15 was pretty good, the last five I could feel my back getting a little bit tight.

“But overall I wasn’t too tired so that’s a good sign.

“I think probably in the next month I should be up and running at speed.”

Bolt started to tire towards the end of his cameo

Asked about which aspects of his game he needs to improve on, Bolt said: “I think moving off the ball, knowing and understanding where to be when the ball is played to the wing.

“It’s all about the movement, I personally think.

“In four months’ time, I’ll be fit, be getting a lot more time on the ball. I personally feel I will get a contract by then, I will be playing for much more time.

“I feel like that with track and field, it’s not that rough on your body.

“We don’t have a lot of contact so I don’t think it’s hard on my body.

Bolt is hoping to earn a permanent football contract after hanging up his running shoes

“So I think I’m good for five years. I’m in good shape. I’m feeling young and I’m ready to go.”

Bolt chose to wear the number 95 for the game against the select XI – an obvious nod to his world record 9.58 100m record.

And the tracksuit came off late in the second half as Bolt’s entrance delighted the Central Coast Stadium crowd.

Earlier this year, Bolt spent time training with Borussia Dortmund

Head coach Mike Mulvey added: “I thought the big fella did OK. He’s a confident guy.

“The game changed a lot in the second half, we scored a lot of goals in the first half and they dropped a lot deeper, so there was no space in behind.

“It was a good exercise. He was on a hiding to nothing, he was a little bit nervous, but I’m quite happy with him.”

Usain Bolt not expecting special treatment as professional football trial begins

21 Aug

Usain Bolt insists he will receive no special treatment and that he will prove his doubters wrong as he began his “indefinite” trial with the Central Coast Mariners.

The 32-year-old is aiming to become a professional footballer having retired from athletics last year following a sprinting career that led to eight Olympic gold medals.

The track legend wants to make it as a professional footballer

Bolt, who celebrated his birthday by taking part in his first session with the A-League side, has already trained with several clubs around the world, including Borussia Dortmund, Stromsgodset in Norway and Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa.

He also captained the Rest of the World XI at Soccer Aid and has long-harboured an ambition to play football professionally.

Sitting alongside Mariners coach Mike Mulvey, Bolt said he was not expecting to be treated any differently and that any questions over his attempts to make it in the sport will be answered.

Bolt’s arrival has brought much publicity

“People will say a lot of things about me, but I’ll prove them wrong,” he said at a press conference following the start of his trial.

“The coach has explained to me that there won’t be any special treatment and will treat me just like a footballer will be treated.

“I expect nothing but that, I want to be treated like one of the boys I don’t want to be treated like the world’s fastest man, I want to be treated like a footballer because that is what I want to be.

“I told the coach from the start ‘listen, I’m here with a blank slate’ no matter what I have learned or seen on TV it is a blank slate, I’m here to learn and get better and that is my focus.”

Bolt has trained with several clubs across the world

Bolt revealed he had also received offers from lower-league teams in Spain and France as he admitted landing a full-time deal with the Mariners is currently his only target.

“I’m just trying to get over the first hurdle – which is get a contract and get fit and to get ready to push myself to be the best,” he said.

“After that I will see what level I am at, I will talk to the coach and the fitness trainer and see what level I need to work towards and then I can determine my goal for the season – but first I want to prove to the coach staff and the Mariners that I am deserving of a contract.

“As you see over the years, I’m very cool under pressure. My ability to understand and learn the game very quickly is something I am good at, I think I see the game very well but I have to work on the basic skills – there are things I need to learn and that is why I am here.”