GOSFORD, Australia – Former sprint superstar Usain Bolt has admitted that he is finding it hard to adjust to the level of fitness required for him to become a professional footballer.
Bolt made the comments ahead of his first trial match this week for the Central Coast Mariners, where he hopes to fulfil his dream of having a soccer career.
According to reports, the 32-year-old, eight-time Olympic gold medalist’s lack of football fitness was evident and he appeared to tire quickly, resting more than his teammates, during an intensive session at the team’s base in the town of Gosford, 75 kilometres (47 miles) north of Sydney, yesterday.
“The most challenging thing for me is the stop and go because I’m not used to picking up speed, going back down, then back again,” Bolt said.
“It’s all about practising and getting used to the system. I have time so will just learn the ways and keep pushing.”
The Mariners are hoping to turn Bolt into A-League material in time for the start of the 2018/19 season in late October, with the club saying he can stay indefinitely to prove his credentials and earn a playing contract.
The club will play a pre-season friendly on Friday against an amateur side and Bolt is expected to get his first taste of a competitive game, but only as a substitute.
“I imagine he’ll get some minutes on Friday,” said club coach Mike Mulvey.
“The things we are asking him to do are things that he hasn’t done for quite some years.
“He has played football as an athlete in between athletic meets so he has rudimentary skills. There’s no problem about that. It’s about being able to do it at the speed that we do it. It takes time to adjust,” he added. (CMC)