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.

Just Posted

Benches made from wood that posed a fire risk in Lake Country

The parks team is making benches from the trees removed from the Jack Seaton Park

Rutland pride spills over

Reaction to a story this weekend was clear and worth a second read

Family Day move a welcome change: poll

Okanagan readers voted that the new date for Family Day in B.C. is a positive change

Huge crack and bang heard as Wood Lake fractures

‘It was roaring across the lake,’ Lake Country woman recounts sound of crack in Wood Lake ice

Former Prime Minister comes to Kelowna

Stephen Harper will speak in Kelowna March 12

‘Just like Iron Man’: Calgary surgeon undergoes experimental spinal surgery

Dr. Richi Gill was in a freak accident on a boogie board during a family vacation in Hawaii

Deported B.C. man who came to Canada as a baby granted chance at return

Lee Van Heest was deported to the Netherlands in 2017

A Mother’s Wish: Ryan Shtuka’s mother wants her son to be ‘forever known’

‍‍‍‍‍“Let me tell you a story …. it all began with a boy named Ryan”

Sex abuse survivors to meet with Vatican summit organizers

Pope Francis has urged participants to meet with abuse victims before they came to Rome

Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump

Andrew McCabe said FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia

Okanagan College professor awarded for promoting financial literacy

Leigh Sindlinger received a Distinguished Service Award for inspiring financial literacy in youth

Poll: What do you think of Family Day weekend’s move?

Until this year, Family Day has fallen on the second Monday in February

Most Read