Usain Bolt: Olympic champion, fastest man alive and… soccer star?

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You might have heard of Usain Bolt. Maybe, at some point, you happened to hear the name of the fastest human being in recorded history. The eight-time Olympic gold medalist holds the world record in the 100-meter and 200-meter events and is acknowledged by many as the greatest sprinter of all time and the fastest person ever.

Now, he may add “professional soccer player” to an already extraordinary career.

Usain Bolt has been on trial with top-flight Australian side Central Coast Mariners, meaning that he had not yet been offered a full-time contract with the club but was participating in practices and training with the team after being assigned the No. 95 jersey.

On Oct. 12, the Jamaican made his full debut with the club in a friendly against Macarthur South West United. The former sprint champion began his soccer career in style, scoring two goals in 11 minutes in the second half as the Central Coast Mariners romped to a 4-0 win.

His speed was on full display and was largely the reason he scored his first goal, as he outpaced Macarthur’s defensive line and slid a low strike past the keeper. Bolt’s second goal came when he picked up a loose ball and finished into an empty net.

The former Olympian showed, however, that he was more than just quick. In the first half, he just barely missed a headed effort at goal after a long, looping cross came in from the left side.

Despite his stunning debut in Central Coast’s preseason friendlies, Bolt was nowhere to be found during the Australian side’s opening match for the professional season. Rumor has it, though, that he has been offered a contract by the team, and so may very soon be, officially, a professional footballer.

Other clubs from around the world are also monitoring his situation, and news has emerged that Maltese club Valleta FC has offered him a two-year contract in order to help it compete in larger European competitions. Bolt’s agent stated that he declined the contract, preferring to instead stay in Australia, but with potential profit from merchandise sales (who wouldn’t want an Usain Bolt soccer jersey), many clubs may think it worth their while to employ the Jamaican.

While this kind of profit-focused business may taint any offer or professional contract Usain Bolt may receive, and any playing career will likely be more about public spectacle than actual soccer, it is worth noting that Bolt did play well in his debut and will likely continue to improve.

One thing no one will doubt, however, is his speed.

Jasper Sundeen writes for Bear Bytes, the Daily Californian’s sports blog. Contact him at [email protected].