21 Aug 2018

Football: Usain Bolt begins A-League quest

4:41 pm on 21 August 2018

Sprint champion Usain Bolt has started his A-League stint with Central Coast, saying he wishes to work hard, get fit and the rest is up to coach Mike Mulvey.

Bolt's "indefinite" training period with the Mariners kicked off on Tuesday morning at Central Coast Stadium.

A 15-minute passing drill, which Bolt completed without any terrible gaffes, was Mulvey's only chance to judge the Jamaican sprint superstar's football skill.

Bolt and Mulvey then addressed the assembled media, made up of almost 100 journalists, photographers and camera operators, for over 20 minutes.

Usain Bolt trains with the Central Coast Mariners.

Usain Bolt trains with the Central Coast Mariners. Photo: Supplied

"I'm entirely out of my comfort zone but that's why I am here," Bolt said.

"It's just like track and field. The first day of training is always the roughest one.

"You can tell how much work you need to put in.

"But it felt OK. I know it's going to take time to work and I'm ready to work."

Bolt claimed he isn't setting himself any targets, and that his greatest strength on the park - apart from record pace - is that he is cool under pressure.

"I'm just going to put in the work," he said.

"I have to get fit. I'm just here to push myself ... Iearn and get better.

"As I told the coach from the start, I'm here with a blank slate."

Bolt noted he would accept and respect Mulvey's judgement on whether the Mariners should offer a contract, and that he was ready to play any position.

Bolt added he received offers from clubs in France and Spain but they weren't in the top division and he would have had to learn a new language.

Mulvey continues to insist there is no timeline for the potential recruit, who could be unleashed for the first time in an August 31 trial game, to prove his worth.

"We don't have to make a decision tomorrow or the next day ... I'm happy for him to be here," he said, rubbishing the idea that Bolt could be a distraction.

"The guy is a winner. Eight gold medals in the Olympics, you don't just do that by having great ability."

Bolt, who will be eased into football duties, had a predictably brief opening hit-out .

He was all smiles as he celebrated his 32nd birthday, regularly mopping his brow in sunny and windy conditions in Gosford.

Usain Bolt continues to chase his footballing dream.

Usain Bolt continues to chase his footballing dream. Photo: Photosport

There is plenty of scepticism as to whether the fastest man on earth can reinvent himself as a top-flight footballer but the Mike Mulvey-coached Mariners have been emphatic that they will give him as much time as he needs to prove himself.

The bulk of the squad took part in a simulated match drill while Bolt did some planks and other exercises under the watchful eye of Andrew Young, the Mariners' head of performance.

It's been just over a year since Bolt retired from athletics. He has previously trained with clubs in Germany, South Africa and Norway without being offered a contract.

Bolt's presence has already resulted in unprecedented worldwide media coverage for the A-League.