Usain Bolt backs himself to make his mark with A-League’s Central Coast Mariners

Posted by | August 25, 2018 | Community, Lifestyle, News

Usain

Wearing tracksuit pants with a long sleeve top and gloves, Usain Bolt appeared cooler than normal at his first training run with the Central Coast Mariners.

“The first day of training is always the roughest one,” admitted Bolt after his debut training session with the Mariners in Gosford.

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist and 11-time world champion is the personification of speed and power.

But he will now be assessed on technique, dribbling skills, passing accuracy, endurance and coordination.

“For me I am just trying to get over the first hurdle and that is to get a contract and to get fit,” confessed Bolt.

“I have to work on the basics skills.”

His first modified run lasted less than an hour — some run throughs, a few kicking drills and plenty of time watching on as his potential teammates went about a more intensive hit-out.

At times, the world’s fastest man looked slow on his feet and appeared out of place amongst the company of professional footballers.

“The glare was on him,” Mariners coach Mike Mulvey said.

“He wouldn’t be human if he didn’t have a bit of nerves.”

But it is worth remembering this was day one, where every intention was to ease Bolt into his highly publicised trial.

Is he the real deal? Does he have the skills? Is he really trialling for the A-League’s reigning wooden spooners on the day of his 32nd birthday?

“It’s something I want,” Bolt said.

The Jamaican will base himself on New South Wales’ Central Coast indefinitely, as he embarks on his newest sporting profession.

And the world, or at least the global media, is watching.

The standard turn-out for a Mariners training session is often counted on one hand.

Not this time: 100 journalists, camera operators and photographers applied to cover Bolt’s historic first session.

“We got offers from teams in Spain, France [but] it wasn’t the top division,” Bolt explained.

Bolt wants to play top-tier football and he has chosen the A-League.

It is a completely new playing field. From the mostly individual world of athletics, Bolt now must become a dependable, team player.

“His movement’s not of a professional player’s standard at the moment but, obviously, there’s plenty to work with,” observed Ray Gatt, The Australian’s chief football writer.

“I’m sure we’ll see improvement in him.”

Bolt determined to silence the doubters
While work needs to be done in walking the walk, Bolt is talking the talk.

When he landed in Australia last weekend ahead of his much-publicised trial, Bolt said all the right things: this is no gimmick; he’s here for the long haul; he wants to be an A-League soccer player.

Today was no different.

“I’m here, I don’t care what people say,” he said.

Whilst fitness is his current priority, the four-time Laureus World Sportsman of the Year is confident he has what it takes to become a professional footballer.

“My ability to understand very quickly and to learn the game is something that I am very good at,” Bolt said.

And time is on his side. The Mariners have said they would not be rushed into a decision on Bolt’s playing future.

“If it takes 12 months … I am happy for him to be here,” Mulvey said.

“This guy is a winner.”

The club hopes his winning athletics pedigree — and his “great mental capacity” — will leave a lasting impression on the younger players, regardless of whether he secures a playing contract.

“He’s one of the lads; he doesn’t get any special treatment,” Mulvey said.

“That’s not the way a team works.”

Del Piero, Yorke, Fowler, Heskey, Kewell and Cahill have all played their part in the A-League as a marquee player and now Bolt wants to strike his name as the competition’s next main man.

“I think I see the game very well,” Bolt said.

But, for now, even one of the world’s greatest athletes is just an everyday hopeful.

And perhaps for the first time in his career, Bolt knows what it is like be on a level playing field, something his athletics rivals rarely got to experience.

 

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-21/usain-bolt-determined-to-make-mark-with-mariners/10149138

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