Usain Bolt said he was not used to the changeable pace of top-level soccer as he prepares to play his first game for Australia’s Central Coast Mariners.
The eight-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter is on an open-ended trial with the A-League club, and he is set to make his first appearance Friday when the Mariners take on a local amateur team.
Bolt, who played in a friendly during a trial with Norwegian side Stromsgodset earlier in the year, admitted he would be nervous as he took another step toward his dream of being a professional footballer.
“There will be nerves,” the 100-meter world record-holder told reporters.
First team training and press conference with the @CCMariners #ccmfc #newlevels pic.twitter.com/ks3LdMu9qV
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) August 21, 2018
“It’s not like it is a charity game anymore, this is a career that I am pursuing.
“I expect to make mistakes but also to make myself proud and to push myself. I know I am not going to have a perfect game.
“I have been playing on the left wing so far, that is where I have been placed and what I am working with. I am not used to going up and down in speed, back and forth. I think that is the most challenging thing.
“It is all about practicing, going through the rounds and pushing myself to try and get used to the system. I have time, so I am going to take my time to learn new ways and continue pushing.”
Bolt said former Reading midfielder Kalifa Cisse, who played one season in the Premier League with the Royals in 2007-08, had been helping him to prepare for Australian soccer.
“He is really explaining to me, and he has been in the Premier League,” Bolt said of the former Mali international.
“So he has explained the level and he has explained how this league is and how they play here and how he thinks I should play so far.
“We have been talking a lot and he has been explaining to me a few things. So he has been key so far.”