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Report: Usain Bolt ends short-lived soccer career

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Usain Bolt appears to have hung up the cleats, just a few months after first donning them.

The world-record holder sprinter from Jamaica, who grew up playing soccer and is a self-confessed obsessive, has reportedly given up on his pursuit of becoming a professional soccer player, according to the BBC.

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“It was fun while it lasted,” Bolt said. “I don’t want to say it wasn’t dealt with properly, but I think we went about it not the way we should. You live and you learn. It was a good experience – I really enjoyed just being in a team.”

The 31-year-old scored a pair of goals in a friendly match last October with the Central Coast Mariners of Australia’s A-League, and had a chance to sign with a club in Malta, but turned it down due, reportedly due to wage demands. Central Coast never ended up signing Bolt to a full-time contract either.

The news ends a celebrity stint that looked doomed from the start. For nearly every professional athlete, they spend years and years focusing and practicing their craft. It would have been difficult for Bolt, who didn’t play regularly in his 20s, to step right into a professional side, have a great first touch and put that speed of his over short distances to work. Ultimately, he gave it a go, and it was probably the right time to move on and focus on other ventures.

Bolt’s bid for pro contract in Australia ends without a deal

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GOSFORD, Australia (AP) Usain Bolt’s bid to become a professional soccer player in Australia has ended with the Olympic sprinting great failing to agree on a contract with the Central Coast Mariners.

The Mariners announced Friday that Bolt’s indefinite training period with the club “has drawn to an end, effective immediately.”

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Central Coast reportedly offered Bolt a contract worth 150,000 Australian dollars ($110,000) and hoped to get a third-party endorsement to increase the package into the millions, but management for the eight-time Olympic gold medalist rejected the offer.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Usain as he pursued his desire to become a professional football player,” said Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth. “This has been a mutually beneficial partnership that brought an increased level of excitement and attention to both the Mariners and the A-League.”

Bolt, who has never played soccer at an elite level, practiced with the Mariners squad in September and October but only played in some low-level, non-league matches.

“I would like to thank the Central Coast Mariners’ owners, management, staff, players and fans for making me feel so welcome during my time there,” Bolt said in a statement released by the club. “I wish the club success for the season ahead.”

Bolt scored two goals in a trial game but wasn’t included in the squad for the A-League season opener on Oct. 21, when Central Coast had a 1-1 draw in Brisbane. Mariners coach Mike Mulvey said after that match that he wasn’t aware the club had made an offer to Bolt.

The 32-year-old Bolt retired from competitive track and field last year and has since explored options in Germany, South Africa, Norway, and Australia to gain a professional soccer contract.

His first game for the Mariners, an exhibition against a selection of amateur players, attracted a big crowd, and Bolt’s bid to join the A-League has generated plenty of headlines. But critics questioned Bolt’s ability to play at an elite level and others wrote it off a publicity stunt.

Bolt unlikely to agree to terms with Australian club

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Usain Bolt’s search for a professional contract may go on a bit longer.

According to the Central Coast Mariners, the Australian club he’s been training with, they have extended Bolt a contract, but conceded a deal is “unlikely” “without the financial contribution of an external third-party,”

Reports across Europe state that Bolt is looking for a $3 million contract from any team he signs with, and the Mariners appear unable to meet those demands. “We are looking at ways to do this as the club does not have the luxury to be able to do this in the Hyundai A-League,” the club said in a statement. According to a report by the Guardian, the Australian football governing body has contributed $100,000 from its marketing fund for the contract, but would add no more than that.

Bolt scored twice in a friendly last week, and he’s been training with the club for the past few weeks, but the club announced that while talks are ongoing, Bolt will not travel with the team or attend training “to ensure that there is no distraction to the Hyundai A-League squad in preparing for this weekend’s match versus Melbourne City.”

The A-League side said in the statement that while Bolt is improving, the former sprinter requires further training to become a viable professional player. “Usain has made great progression during his time on the Central Coast and we feel that he will improve further with more individual intensive training and competitive game time.”

However, the club’s head coach wasn’t so complimentary. “Do you think he’ll get in our front three? We’ve got a very good front third,” Mike Mulvey said. Central Coast sports former Leeds United, Fulham, and Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack up front, alongside 26-year-old Australian international Tommy Oar and 24-year-old Connor Pain who has one cap for the international side.

Bolt doesn’t exactly have a ton of time to improve his game, already at 32 years of age and with a full Olympic-medal-winning professional sprinting career on his legs.

A-League team do not seem keen on Usain Bolt

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Comments from Usain Bolt’s agent claimed that the Central Coast Mariners had offered the former sprinter a professional contract to play in the A-League.

However the Mariners’ manager has pretty much quashed the idea of Bolt signing permanently, while the club have refused to comment and the Australian federation believe there is an offer on the table.

Yep. This is a bit of a mess.

Bolt, 32, has been on trial with the Mariners over the past few weeks and scored twice in his first start in a friendly 10 days ago.

But the head coach of the Mariners, Mike Mulvey, has said that any contract offer is news to him.

“I do appreciate how important this story is to the rest of the world. I do appreciate that,” Mulvey told reporters. “But you have a look at our front line today and you wonder whether he will get in any of those positions, wouldn’t you?”

Asked about where that leaves Bolt’s future, Mulvey issued a sharp response on the “speculation” and said he “didn’t know anything” about a contract offer.

With talk of Bolt being offered a deal to play in Malta on the back of this trial stint with the Mariners, it appears the Jamaican sprinting legend will now have to head elsewhere to fulfil his dream of being a professional player.

After training stints with Borussia Dortmund and Stromsgodset, which were basically publicity stunts, his time with the Mariners has been a serious attempt at earning a pro deal. The lifelong Manchester United fan wanted to switch sports and prove he could score goals as well as terrify defenses with his pace.

Where will he end up next? Will he stay in Australia? Is this the end of his soccer dream?

This is all getting a little bit confusing.

Agent says Usain Bolt has contract offer

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Usain Bolt’s agent claims that his client has received an A-League contract offer from Central Coast Mariners after spending more than two months on trial with the Australian club.

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The eight-time Olympic goal medalist, who’s 32 years old after retiring from track and field last year, scored twice in a Mariners exhibition last week. Now, his agent says he’s been offered an official contract — quotes from the AP:

“In response to the media stories, yes, Usain has been offered a contract. I do not want to make any further comment at this stage.”

Mike Mulvey, the Mariners manager, not only claims to be unaware of any such offer, but sounds rather dubious and unenthusiastic about the prospects of Bolt being a first-team player.

“You have a look at our front line today and you wonder whether he could get into any of those positions, wouldn’t you? I do appreciate how important this story is for the rest of the world.

“You’re just talking about speculation, I don’t know anything about what you’re talking about and that’s the honest truth.”

“We’re going to go back, have some dinner, have a little look at the game that’s on … then get on a plane tomorrow, go home and start preparing for Melbourne City next week. That’s the plan.”