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Usain Bolt sets extended stay with Borussia Dortmund

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Usain Bolt said he is going back to Borussia Dortmund to “work with them for three more weeks” for another assessment of his prospects of becoming a professional soccer player.

Bolt worked out with the Bundesliga club, which shares an apparel sponsor with the Jamaican, on March 22-23 and trained regularly with a team in Jamaica’s top division during the winter.

“It’s a big deal,” Bolt told the (Melbourne) Herald Sun in a video interview at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, on Thursday. “Everyone feels like I’m just kicking it around, I’m joking, but I’m serious. I’m actually going back to Dortmund in a couple of weeks, to work with them for three more weeks, just to assess myself at the better level to see what level I’m at or what I need to do or if I can [do it].”

Dortmund’s Bundesliga season ends May 12. Bolt said that “they were very impressed” at his first trial (presumably the March 22-23 session at Dortmund).

“They didn’t expect me to know so much and understand the game,” he said.

Dortmund’s coach, Peter Stoeger, said March 23 that Bolt had work ahead if he wanted to become a pro.

“He is at an age where I say he is no longer so incredibly capable of development,” Stoeger said, according to The Associated Press. “You can see that he understands the game. He’s talented. What he’s missing is the team work.”

Bolt said he wants to play “in a top league.”

“It doesn’t matter if it’s La Liga, English league, Bundesliga, I’m OK with that,” Bolt said March 23. “I just want to prove to the world anything is possible.”

Bolt is expected to play in a June 10 charity match at Manchester United’s Old Trafford with other celebrities and retired soccer players.

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Carli Lloyd on retirement plan, career milestones, more in Q&A

Carli Lloyd
ANA Inspiration/Kelly Kline
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Carli Lloyd, a double Olympic gold medalist and 2015 World Cup winner, shared her time while promoting female empowerment and motivating youth at the LPGA Tour’s ANA Inspiration on Tuesday (Golf Channel broadcast schedule). Highlights …

OlympicTalk: You said last year that the national team was still trying to find its identity (after a 2016 Olympic quarterfinal loss and last-place finish at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup). After winning the SheBelieves Cup this month, has the team found its identity and can you put it into words?

Lloyd: I think it has. Obviously, since the 2015 World Cup, we’ve gone through a bit of a transition period. We’ve got younger players. We’ve got players who came through the NWSL who don’t have a ton of experience. And then we also have veterans as well in myself. I think that we just need to mold all of that together. Now we’re starting to hone in on what this team’s about, how we want to play as a team, the identity. I do think we are an exciting team to watch. As we get closer and closer to World Cup qualifying [in October], obviously we’re still the U.S. team with that fight and that mentality, but we also have a lot of talented younger players to help bridge all that together. Great result, the SheBelieves. Now we can continue to push on. We know that we can continue to get better. We all just have to do our part to keep pushing on.

OlympicTalk: You’re at 250 caps. You’re almost at 100 goals (98). Which of those numbers means more to you and why?

Lloyd: I didn’t even [know I hit 250]. After the game, [coach] Jill [Ellis] said in front of the group, congrats on 250 caps. I had no idea where I was even at. It was a bit of surprise to me. It’s really not about those numbers. That’s entirely not my focus. I’m just mainly focused on getting myself back into the groove and continuing to be better and better every single day. I have a lot more that I still want to accomplish. I think the best is yet to come.

OlympicTalk: You said in 2015 that you plan to retire from the national team after the 2020 Olympics. Is that still the plan, and is there anything that could happen at the 2019 World Cup or 2020 Olympics that could change that?

Lloyd: I don’t live too far in the future. The goal is that I will be a part of 2019, 2020. Obviously, I have to continue to keep performing, first and foremost. But I know that the only person that would hold me back is myself. So, as long as I continue to keep working as hard as I can every single day, I know that I will be at those events. Yes, you have to account for injuries and things that happen, but that’s life.

Editor’s Note: Lloyd turns 38 in 2020, when she will be older than any previous U.S. Olympic soccer player. She came back from an MCL sprain for the Rio Olympics and missed time last summer with an ankle sprain. Still, she won FIFA Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016 and was runner-up to Dutch Lieke Martens in 2017.

OlympicTalk: So are you leaving the option open of playing beyond 2020?

Lloyd: Internationally, most likely not. I have no clue, to be quite honest. I’m not going to rule out potentially still playing in the NWSL. I really have to kind of figure that out after 2020 and see where I’m at. The challenging thing for women is starting a family. That is something that is important to my husband and I.

OlympicTalk: What are the chances you would play for Manchester City or another European club again, knowing that the next two years are major tournament years?

Lloyd: Anything’s possible, but as we’re gearing up for these two world events, most likely not. It’s just not really feasible to be flying back and forth from Europe. My time at Manchester City for those three months was merely just for those three months, at the moment. Enjoyed my experience, glad I did it. I’m not going to say never, but, most likely, probably, won’t be going overseas again.

OlympicTalk: Do you think Hope Solo will play for the national team again?

Lloyd: No idea. I know she’s had some major shoulder surgeries. I don’t know where she’s at on that. I honestly have no idea.

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Usain Bolt scores goal, PK at Borussia Dortmund training (video)

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Usain Bolt scored a goal, converted from the penalty spot and nutmegged a Borussia Dortmund player in an hourlong training session with the club on Friday.

Bolt trained with Dortmund on Thursday and Friday. The first day included a private session.

Friday’s was open to the public — about 1,400 spectators in low-40-degree temperatures, according to the club — and media and live streamed on Dortmund’s YouTube page with English commentary (video here).

“I’m just going to try to continue training,” Bolt said. “I’ve talked to the club and told them I’m really serious about this. They told me I should come back for a longer period, do some more training and then they can assess me and tell me what level I can play at.

“As long as it’s in a top league. It doesn’t matter if it’s La Liga, English league, Bundesliga, I’m OK with that. I just want to prove to the world anything is possible.”

Bolt has long dreamed of suiting up for his favorite club, Manchester United, and said he has the ability to make Jamaica’s national team.

“We’re going there to be serious,” Bolt said on Jamaican TV two weeks ago of his trip to Germany. “I want to go there to test my skills.”

His only lined-up competitive action is a June 10 charity match at Old Trafford with other celebrities and retired soccer players.

Bolt and Dortmund share an apparel sponsor in Puma.

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