It’s official. Usain Bolt will be training with the Central Coast Mariners this month.
The Mariners confirmed on Tuesday night that the world’s fastest man had committed to an “indefinite training period” with the club, with the aim to develop into a professional footballer.
Central Coast Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp is due to comment to the media on Wednesday at 10.30am about the agreement with Bolt.
The agreement between the Mariners and Bolt does “not guarantee a professional playing contract”.
However, it does provide the eight-time Olympic gold medallist with an opportunity to “achieve his burning desire to play football professionally”, the Mariners said in a statement.
Bolt has recently trained with Borussia Dortmund in Germany, Mamelodi Sundowns FC in South Africa and Strømsgodset in Norway.
The superstar athlete is scheduled to “link up with the Central Coast Mariners for the first time later this month”.
“I am very excited about coming to Australia and would like to thank the owner and management of the Central Coast Mariners for giving me this opportunity,” Bolt said in a statement.
“It has been my dream to play professional football and I know that it will involve a lot of hard work and training to get to the level required to play and make an impact in the A-League.
“When I spoke to the head coach Mike Mulvey on the phone he outlined the ambitions of the club and his plans for the upcoming season. I hope I can make a positive contribution to the club and look forward to meeting the other players, staff and fans in the coming weeks.
“I always say that ‘anything is possible, don't think limits’ and I look forward to the challenge.”
Mielekamp welcomed the opportunity to host “one of the greatest athletes of all time here on the Central Coast”.
“Our goal is to be the most innovative, entertaining and community-minded sports brand in Australia – this is our competitive edge,” Mielekamp said.
“Having Usain Bolt come to the club to train and hopefully develop into a professional football player is perfectly aligned to this part of the club’s philosophy.
“It is important that we don’t get too caught up in the hype of possibilities, but the reality is that Usain Bolt has placed his faith in the Central Coast Mariners to accelerate his football journey.”
He said Bolt’s arrival must be “tempered with the reality that there is a job to do and hard work ahead”.
“We are committed to building a team that will win matches and instil belief. Hopefully Usain can help us on this mission.”
He said the club would welcome Bolt “with open arms”.
“We will always remain grounded and focused on the job at hand. I also look forward to seeing the Central Coast catching the attention of sports lovers all over the world,” he said.