Getty Images

Usain Bolt says brief pro soccer career was ‘fun while it lasted’

Leave a comment

Eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt‘s dabbling in pro soccer has come to a close.

Bolt, who set his sights on a soccer career following his retirement from track and field in 2017, told ESPN, “It was a good experience. I really enjoyed just being in a team and it was different from track and field and it was fun while it lasted.”

The Jamaican sprinting sensation has said his longtime dream – admittedly far-fetched – was to play for Manchester United. He spent time training with several clubs, including Borussia Dortmund, Stromsgodset in Norway, and Central Coast Mariners in Australia. He scored twice in a friendly match for the Mariners but the club announced in November it would not sign Bolt after failed negotiations.

The 32-year-old told ESPN his focus is now centered on his business ventures: “I’m just doing many different things…the sports life is over, so I’m now moving into different businesses, I have a lot of things in the pipeline, so as I say, I’m just dabbling in everything and trying to be a business man now.”

 

 

Usain Bolt sets deadline on continuing soccer career

AP
Leave a comment

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.”

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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

Usain Bolt finished with Australian soccer club

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

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