Usain Bolt’s footballing career went off to a promising start as he got a brace for the Central Coast Mariners in a pre-season friendly.
In his first start for the Australian club, he is on trial at, the former Olympic sprinter scored his first with a well-struck effort at the near post, before capitalizing on a defensive error to grab his second. Naturally, he pulled out his famous ‘lightning bolt’ celebration after scoring.
‘My first start and scoring two goals, it’s a good feeling,’ Bolt told Fox Sports. ‘I’m happy I could come here and show the world I’m improving.
‘I’m keen to be a Mariner, to play my best and get into the team.’
Since August the Jamaican has been on an ‘indefinite training period” with the Mariners, which plays its season opener next Sunday.
Bolt has been limited to pre-season appearances from the bench but head coach Mike Mulvey gave the 32-year-old his first start against Macarthur South West United on Friday.
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A huge Manchester United fan, Bolt was open about his desire to play football professionally during his eight-year Olympic reign.
During his period of dominance as the world’s fastest man, Bolt won an Olympic a ‘triple double,’ clinching golds in the 100 and 200 meters in Beijing, London, and Rio.
His 2009 world record runs in each event are still intact.
Soon after retiring from athletics last year, Bolt went to work on his second career, training with Borussia Dortmund in Germany, Mamelodi Sundowns FC in South Africa, and Norwegian club Strømsgodset.
Though the Mariners represent Bolt’s greatest chance of playing professional football to date, the club has previously clarified that the agreement ‘does not guarantee a professional playing contract.’
While Bolt’s speed isn’t in question, his best position on the pitch is still to be decided — although early indications are Mulvey prefers the 6-foot 5-inch star as a forward. The club praised his performance with a ‘Don’t think limits’ tweet and a lightning bolt emoji in front of it.
The Mariners play in the Sydney suburb of Gosford to a capacity crowd of just over 20,000.
Usain might not be at his dream club, Manchester United yet, where he said playing would be ‘epic’ – but it’s a start.