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Usain Bolt sets deadline on continuing soccer career

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Usain Bolt said he will decide by the end of November whether to sign with a new soccer team or end his pursuit of the sport altogether.

“I got a lot of offers from different clubs,” Bolt said in a video interview in London on Wednesday. “Now we’re just trying to figure out what. We’ll make a decision before the end of November if I’m going to go to another club, or if I’m just going to call that dream quits.”

Bolt refused to specify where the offers are from in an Associated Press interview.

The eight-time Olympic champion practiced with teams in five countries since retiring from track and field last year but hasn’t signed a professional contract. His latest and most prolonged training stint was with the Central Coast Mariners of Australia’s top league.

Bolt trained and played preseason exhibitions with the club on a tryout deal from August to October.

The Mariners announced on Nov. 2 that they would not sign Bolt after failed negotiations, unable to bridge the financial gap for a player they did “not have the luxury” to play in regular-season matches.

Bolt thanked the Mariners staff, players and fans in a statement.

“For making me feel so welcome during my time there. I wish the club success for the season ahead,” Bolt said two weeks ago.

Bolt said in the summer that he turned down offers from teams in France and Spain, but not in the top division. He preferred Australia, where he didn’t have to learn a language. His long-time dream has been to play for Manchester United.

“I’ve talked to [Premier League stars Paul] Pogba and all these guys, [Raheem] Sterling, all these guys, and they are happy to see that I’m trying, ‘Come on, you can do it,'” Bolt said in a recent Sky Sports interview. “This is not about all about the money. This is a dream, and I want to try and see how good I can be.”

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Usain Bolt finished with Australian soccer club

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Usain Bolt‘s bid for a pro soccer contract with an Australian club has ended.

Bolt and the Central Coast Mariners could not agree to a deal. The A-League club announced Friday that contract talks are over.

The Mariners offered Bolt a contract last month, at the end of his tryout deal, but said that they likely needed more money from an external party for Bolt to sign.

“There was a gap that we needed to try to fill, and in the time from then till now we haven’t been able to close that gap,” Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp said.

The club also said last month that while Bolt “made great progression” in his two months of preseason training, it “does not have the luxury” to play him in regular-season league matches.

Mielekamp declined to say Friday whether Bolt’s departure was more related to his talent or to financial terms.

“It’s more of a timing issue,” he said.

Bolt thanked the Mariners staff, players and fans in a statement.

“For making me feel so welcome during my time there. I wish the club success for the season ahead,” Bolt said.

The highlight of Bolt’s two-month stay in Gosford came Oct. 12, when he scored two goals in a friendly against a team that is not in the A-League. Bolt had said the match, his third, would determine his future after he first joined the club on an indefinite trial in hopes of getting a contract.

Mielekamp said the story of Bolt playing for last season’s last-place A-League club reached 600 million people.

“To see the footage go around the world, to have our club on the world stage and world media is something that we’ll forever be grateful for,” he said.

The eight-time Olympic champion Bolt has long harbored dreams of playing pro soccer.

Since retiring in summer 2017, he also trained alongside club teams in South Africa, Jamaica and Norway, plus had a much-publicized visit with Borussia Dortmund in March. Bolt and Dortmund share an apparel sponsor in Puma.

Bolt said he turned down offers from teams in France and Spain, but not in the top division. He preferred Australia, where he didn’t have to learn a language. His long-time dream has been to play for Manchester United.

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Usain Bolt offered contract with Australia soccer club, hurdles remain

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Usain Bolt has been offered a contract with his Australian soccer team after playing for the Central Coast Mariners on a tryout deal, but the club said it likely needs more money from an external party to sign Bolt.

The club also said in a press release that while Bolt “made great progression” in his two months of preseason training, it “does not have the luxury” to play him in regular-season league matches.

“I do appreciate how important this story is for the rest of the world, I do appreciate that, but you have a look at our front line today and you wonder whether he could get into any of those positions,” Central Coast coach Mike Mulvey said Sunday, after his club began regular-season play in Australia’s top division without Bolt.

Bolt will not train with the club this week until he signs — if he signs.

Bolt scored his first two goals for the Mariners on Oct. 12 in a friendly against a team that is not in the A-League. Bolt had said the match, his third, would determine his future after he first joined the club on an indefinite trial in hopes of getting a contract.

“After this game is where we can talk because the season’s coming up,” Bolt said after the match.

The eight-time Olympic champion Bolt has long harbored dreams of playing pro soccer.

Since retiring in summer 2017, he has trained alongside club teams in South Africa, Jamaica and Norway, plus had a much-publicized visit with Borussia Dortmund in March. Bolt and Dortmund share an apparel sponsor in Puma.

Bolt said he turned down offers from teams in France and Spain, but not in the top division. He prefers Australia, where he doesn’t have to learn a language. His long-time dream has been to play for Manchester United.

“The [Mariners] coach has explained to me that there won’t be any special treatment,” Bolt said as his Mariners trial began in August. “They will treat me just like a footballer should be treated. … I don’t want to be treated like I’m the world’s fastest man.”

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MORE: Matthew Centrowitz eyes American record after bounce-back years