Usain Bolt’s eight-year reign as arguably the best athlete on the planet has come to an end, leaving the eight-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter searching for his next act.
He’s hoping that next step occurs on an Australian soccer pitch.
Bolt’s agent Tony Rallis told Australian radio show “Big Sports Breakfast” on Monday that the 31-year old who retired from competitive sprinting last year had agreed in principle to a six-week trial deal with Australian A-League team Central Coast Mariners.
The A-League is the country’s top professional soccer tier and run by Football Federation Australia. Terms of the deal were not reported.
“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.”
Bolt has previously spent trial soccer runs with Germany’s Borussia Dortmund and Norway’s Stromsgodset. But he’s never played soccer professionally.
If this sounds a bit like Tim Tebow getting a shot at baseball after his pro football career flamed out, it’s because it probably is.
Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp addressed speculation that the Bolt deal was a publicity stunt with Newcorp.
“Apart from him obviously being extremely fast the feedback we have received from Germany and Norway is that he is a very good learner and shows dramatic improvement after every training session,” Mielekamp said.
“This is a very real football opportunity, this is not a stunt or gimmick – we want to know if Usain can play.
“If he can, let’s light up the A-League and bring one of the biggest named athletes in sport to the Central Coast.”