Usain Bolt debuted for his Australian professional soccer team, playing the last 20 minutes of a preseason exhibition against an amateur team Friday night.
Bolt, displacing Richard Dent as the most famous No. 95 in sports history and wearing black gloves, jogged into the midfield for the Central Coast Mariners of Australia’s top division amid a smoke-and-lights show and the club leading 6-0.
Central Coast won 6-1, watched by an announced attendance of 9,958 for last season’s last-place club.
“It was what I expected,” Bolt said in a TV interview. “I was a little bit nervous, but as soon as I got onto the field, the nerves kind of went [away]. I wish I had more touches, but I’m not fit yet.”
Bolt, an eight-time Olympic champion who retired from track and field last year, joined the club on a trial basis last week. He has long harbored professional soccer ambitions and this year trained with teams in Jamaica, South Africa, Norway and Germany.
Bolt said after the match that he needs another two months to reach full fitness.
“Then to get used to the touches, the passes, understand how my teammates play, understand the game, four months I’ll be playing like one of the guys,” he said.
The A-League regular season starts in mid-October. Bolt, 32, is not guaranteed to be on the roster in two months’ time.
“He is looking forward to the next nine months here,” Bolt’s agent said, according to ABC News.
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