SYDNEY, Australia, CMC – Usain Bolt took a huge step towards becoming a professional footballer by bagging a brace in his first start for Central Coast Mariners during a trial match on Thursday.
The eight-time Olympic gold medalist, who is hoping to win a contract with the Mariners ahead of the 2018-19 season, ran on to a chipped ball played by Scotland striker Ross McCormack, held off the defender and finished powerfully low past the goalkeeper to open his account.
He then capitalised on a defensive mix-up for his second, with a defender and goalkeeper colliding to leave Bolt able to tap in from close range, as he guided Mariners to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Macarthur South West.
It was the 32-year-old Bolt’s third appearance for the Mariners having also featured in games in August and September.
The world record holder in the 100 and 200-metre events said he was happy to have scored in his first start. “My first start and scoring two goals, it’s a good feeling. I’m happy I could come here and show the world I’m improving. I’m keen to be a Mariner, to play my best and get into the team,” Bolt said afterwards.
The lanky Jamaican who had previously admitted to struggling to get fit, said his performance showed that he was making steady improvements in his game.
“This will determine… [what] the club wants to do with my career, so it’s a very important game. I have been improving, but you won’t know what level you’re at until you play a competitive game so I just have to go out there and see what I need to do or whether I should continue or not.
“I’m just pushing myself and have put in the work so now I have to go out there and execute,” Bolt said.
McCormack, who is on loan from Aston Villa, had high praise for Bolt’s performance.
“The best thing about Usain Bolt is he’s so humble and he’s fitted in well with the lads. From my first day even to where he is now, the transformation is huge,” McCormack stated