Usain Bolt made a name for himself as an Olympic sprinter, but did he ever consider pursuing a career in some other sports – including soccer?
Usain Bolt no longer plays soccer, but he had a short-lived soccer career with the Australian club Central Coast Mariners in 2018. He left the team after an eight-week trial and decided to focus on his business ventures.
Keep reading to learn more about Usain Bolt’s soccer career and his passion for other sports.
Usain Bolt rightfully earned his title as the fastest man alive after breaking multiple records and winning eight Olympic gold medals. Surprisingly enough, this wasn’t his dream growing up, and he always thought he’ll make a name for himself as a cricket or soccer player.
Bolt himself said that he “didn’t really think about anything other than sports” growing up. He spent most of his free time playing cricket and soccer with his brother, but something changed once he started attending the William Knibb Memorial High School.
Bolt was the fastest runner at his primary school but didn’t give it much thought until his high school cricket coach noticed his incredible speed. He believed that Bolt would be better suited for track and field events and advised him to give them a shot.
Bolt’s father was also on board with this idea, despite his deep love for cricket. He advised him to focus on running, because “it’s an individual sport, and if you do good, you do good for yourself.”
He decided to pursue sprinting because it’s not as deeply politicized as team sports, such as soccer and cricket, and his success wouldn’t depend on the opinion of others.
“One coach might think you’re good enough for his team, another might not, or the side could be picked on friendship and family ties. But in athletics you’re either the fastest or you aren’t – opinion doesn’t come to it,” said Bolt.
His stance on team sports didn’t stop him from pursuing a professional soccer career after retiring from track and field, but did he manage to find success in this discipline?
Bolt’s Soccer Career
After officially announcing his retirement from sprinting in 2017, Usain Bolt considered trying his hand at other sports. He took cricket into consideration but eventually settled on soccer.
He’s always been a huge fan of Manchester United, and told The Guardian that playing for this team would be “a dream come true”. Unfortunately, he was aiming too high and the clubs that expressed interest couldn’t even come close to Manchester.
In 2018, Bolt joined the Norwegian soccer club Strømsgodset for training. He took part in a friendly match against Norway Under-19’s team and wore a shirt with the number 9.58 – an obvious reference to his 100-meter world record.
His soccer debut didn’t go unnoticed, and the Australian soccer club Central Coast Mariners invited him to join them for training. Bolt took part in two friendly games with the Mariners and participated in the eight-week trial.
The Olympic champion failed to seal the deal with this soccer club, and it’s been reported that he expected a $3 million deal but was only offered $150.000. They still parted ways on the best of terms, and the Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth said “it’s been a pleasure to work with Usain as he pursued his desire to become a professional football player.”
Bolt thanked the Mariners for making him feel welcome during his time there and wished them the best of luck in the future. He also turned down a two-year contract from the Maltese club Valletta around the same time.
After his stint with the Mariners came to an end, Bolt declared that the “the sports life is over” for him and that he’s going to focus on his business endeavors. He described his short-lived soccer career as a good experience and said that he “really enjoyed just being in a team.”