Usain Bolt has officially started his attempt to obtain an A-League contract, walking onto Central Coast Stadium in front of a packed media contingent.
Bolt, who arrived in Australia on Saturday, has started a brief training session with the Central Coast Mariners.
A 15-minute passing drill will be coach Mike Mulvey’s first chance to judge the Jamaican sprint superstar’s football skills.
The eight-time Olympic gold medallist is expected to otherwise be restricted to agility work during his first hit-out with the A-League club.
Bolt, who is attempting to emulate the likes of Michael Jordan and Lolo Jones in becoming a crossover sports star, was all smiles as he celebrated his 32nd birthday in windy conditions in Gosford.
A crowd of approximately 50 journalists and photographers crowded around the players’ tunnel to get a glimpse of Bolt, who gave a thumbs up as he walked onto the field.
“At the moment it’s all about creating opportunities so until we see what happens, what’s the worst that can happen? We say thanks for your time on the Central Coast and keep working. There’s nothing too wrong with that,” Mariners chief executive Shaun Mielekamp told Fox Sports.
“For us it’s really about getting him out there, see what he can do and let his performance [as a footballer] do the talking.”
Bolt, whose “indefinite” training period with the Mariners has resulted in unprecedented worldwide media coverage for the A-League, will be eased into his football duties.
It’s been just over a year since he retired from athletics and while the 100m sprint king is naturally fit and keeps active, diving head-first into training with a professional football team in preseason mode is too big a risk for all concerned.
Bolt has previously trained with clubs in Germany, South Africa and Norway without being offered a contract.