Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt is reportedly on the verge of swapping his running shoes for football boots to join A-League club Central Coast Mariners.
Sydney’s Daily Telegraph report that Bolt would join the New South Wales club on a six-week intensive trial, potentially starting in August ahead of their 2018/19 season.
The ever-confident Bolt, an eight-time Olympic champion, has previously joked that Manchester United should sign him but the 31-year-old did recently have trials in Germany and Norway with Borussia Dortmund and Strømsgodset respectively.
It’s understood that Mike Phelan, a former Manchester United assistant coach who was recently appointed sporting director for the Mariners, would be closely involved in Bolt’s trial. Phelan worked under legendary former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson between 1999 and 2013 during the Manchester club’s trophy-laden years.
The Mariners have reportedly been in communication with Bolt for three months and his signing would be one of the most hyped deals in A-League history.
Bolt retired from sprinting last year after becoming a global star as the world’s fastest man during a glittering athletics career.
The former world and Olympic champion grew up playing football and cricket before focusing on sprinting.
Neither Dortmund or Strømsgodset offered Bolt a contract after respective trials but he seemed determined then to begin a football career.
“I want to try to get better, to work as hard as I can, play as much as I can. Maybe a club will see something and decide to give me a chance,” he told reporters.
The Mariners have reportedly been the most serious and organised club with negotiations for sourcing a trial for Bolt, who won 11 world titles in his sprinting career.
Mariners CEO Shaun Mielekamp said the club conducted appropriate research before considering the trial.
“This is a very real football opportunity, this is not a stunt or gimmick – we want to know if Usain can play,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“If he can, let’s light up the A-League and bring one of the biggest named athletes in sport to the Central Coast.”
Bolt played alongside All Blacks legend Dan Carter in a charity football match for Unicef in Manchester in June.