Usain Bolt got off the schneid in his new professional soccer career scoring two goals for the Australian A-League’s Central Coast Mariners.
Making his first start for the Mariners in a friendly match on Friday, Bolt had an iffy first half but used all of his world-record speed to race in behind the defense in the 55th minute to lash in his first goal. After his teammates mobbed him, the retired eight-time Olympic gold medal sprinter took a moment by himself to unleash his patented “lightning bolt” celebration.
Ten minutes later Bolt got his second goal when a defender collided with his team’s own goalkeeper leaving Bolt all alone to for a tap in. The Mariners would go on to win the game 4-0.
“My first start and scoring two goals, it’s a good feeling,” Bolt told Fox Sports. “I’m happy I could come here and show the world I’m improving. I’m keen to be a Mariner, and get into the team.”
Bolt started for the Mariners against a second-tier National Premier League combined team representing Sydney’s southwest region. Wearing the No. 95 jersey — a reference to his 100-meter world record time of 9.58 seconds — Bolt lined up as a central striker and played for 75 minutes before being substituted.
Bolt retired from sprinting in 2017 holding the 100- and 200-meter sprint world records and has spent the past year trying to become a professional soccer player. After a much-publicized training stint with German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund in March, Bolt signed for the Mariners for an “indefinite training period” in August.
“It has been my dream to play professional football and I know that it will involve a lot of hard work and training to get to the level required to play and make an impact in the A-League,” Bolt said when he signed with the Mariners.
“I am very excited about coming to Australia and would like to thank the owner and management of the Central Coast Mariners for giving me this opportunity.”
After Friday’s game Bolt said that he hoped to sit down with Mariners’ management to sort out his future. The team’s regular season starts on Oct. 21 when they take on the Brisbane Roar.