GOSFORD, Australia (AP) — Central Coast Mariners coach Mick Mulvey says Usain Bolt will be treated as any other player when he joins the Australian A-League club this month on an “indefinite” trial.
Mulvey will make the final decision over whether Bolt is offered a contract as the Jamaican sprinting great pursues his long-held dream of playing professional football.
Mulvey told the Australian Associated Press on Wednesday the eight-time Olympic champion would start from scratch at the Mariners as he hasn’t viewed video from Bolt’s previous trials in Germany, South Africa or Norway.
The Mariners coach said it is not out of the ordinary for potential signings to be asked to train with the club for several weeks before being offered a deal.
“It just happens to be that this is Usain Bolt,” he said. “I’ve spoken to him. His attitude towards this was deadly serious.
“If it was up to him he’d be coming in without any hoopla but that’s impossible for a person of his stature. I’m really happy and really looking forward to having him train with the club.”
Mulvey said he will judge Bolt purely on his performance during his trial period.
“I’ve had three dozen guys coming in for trials. I haven’t had time to go and watch (video of) every player that’s come in for training,” he said.
“I’m sure when he arrives he’ll give a good account for himself and we’ll see what happens from there. If it works, he will be offered a contract.”
Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp said he had contacted the clubs for which Bolt had trialed and received positive feedback on his ability.
“We’ve heard that every time he’s been training with them he’s made dramatic improvements while he was there,” Mielekamp said. “We will be looking for dramatic improvements.
“It’s hard to tell a lot of the time through the lens of a camera, both good and bad, so getting him on the ground and getting him with the boots on will be the most telling part.”
Mielekamp said it was possible Bolt could play for Central Coast in pre-season matches ahead of the start in October of Australia’s A-League.