Jamaican sprint champion and eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt followed his dream of becoming a professional footballer after his retirement from track and field and obtained a trial with Australia’s A-League side, the Central Coast Mariners. However, on Friday, November 2, 2018, the trial period came to an end and was terminated after contract discussions failed to reach an agreement.
Bolt, 32, gained global attention as the world watched his quest for professional status in football, and interest soared when the sprint champion scored two goals in a pre-season friendly match. Bolt’s abilities have been the subject of speculation, however, and the club made him an offer of just a fraction of the Aus$3 million, or US$2.1 million, sought by his managers, and outside sponsors were needed to make a viable deal.
According to an announcement from the club, the Central Coast Mariners and Ricky Simms, Bolt’s representative, the “indefinite training period” of Bolt and the Mariners had come to an end, “effective immediately.”
The announcement went on to say that the club and Simms have been discussing the deal with external partners to find “a commercial solution that suits all parties.” Although several potential partners were found, Bolt and the Mariners both concluded that they cannot settle on a “suitable deal” in a timely fashion.
Bolt, who holds the world record in the 100 meters, retired from athletics in 2017 and has tried out for a number of football clubs in Germany, South Africa, and Norway. He thanked the Mariners for the opportunity provided to him. “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,” he said.
Photo source: Central Coast Mariners