Usain Bolt has arrived in Australia for a trial with Central Coast Mariners, saying his goal of playing professional football is “for real.”
The eight-time Olympic sprint champion is hoping to earn a contract in time for the start of the A-League season in October.
Wearing a Mariners scarf after landing in Sydney following a 14-hour flight from Los Angeles, Bolt told reporters: “I’ve said all along this is for real and I’m here to show what I can do.
“I know what I’m capable of, I know what I can do, so I have a big opportunity to show I’m good enough. I’m happy to call Australia home.
“I’m here forever. That’s the plan. I’m really going to push myself. I’m going to work hard and I’m looking forward to putting my best foot forward.”
Bolt, who holds the world record for both 100m and 200m, has trained with a number of clubs since retiring from the track including Borussia Dortmund, Norwegian side Stromsgodset and Mamelodi Sundowns in South Africa.
None of those ventures has worked out but Bolt is hoping to making an impression when he begins training with the Mariners on Tuesday, which is his 32nd birthday.
Mariners officials say Bolt will be with them for an “indefinite” period, allowing the 31-year-old Jamaican every chance to prove he has the ability to play football professionally.
The club, which won the A-League in 2013 but finished in last place of 10 teams last season, said Bolt would be treated as any other player and would not be offered a contract if he did not make the grade.
Mark Leadbetter, chairman of the Mariners’ official supporters club who greeted Bolt at the airport said: “I was certainly interested when I first heard the news.
“It’s out of the box and the more I’ve heard about it, the more I’ve come to embrace it.
“Nothing’s impossible. As long as it’s based on football principles, why not? I get the impression that he’s been genuine about this and so has the club.”