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Usain Bolt's A-League audition kicks off


The world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, is attempting to win a professional football contract with A-League side the Central Coast Mariners. Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Usain Bolt has started his A-League adventure with Central Coast, saying he wishes to work hard and get fit, and the rest is up to coach Mike Mulvey.

Bolt's "indefinite" training period with the Mariners kicked off Tuesday morning at Central Coast Stadium.

A 15-minute passing drill, which Bolt completed without any terrible gaffes, was Mulvey's only chance to judge the Jamaican sprint superstar's football skill.

Bolt and Mulvey then addressed the assembled media, made up of almost 100 journalists, photographers and camera operators, for more than 20 minutes.

"I'm entirely out of my comfort zone, but that's why I am here," Bolt said. "It's just like track and field. The first day of training is always the roughest one. You can tell how much work you need to put in.

"But it felt OK. I know it's going to take time to work, and I'm ready to work."

Bolt claimed that he isn't setting himself any targets and that his greatest strength on the park -- apart from record pace -- is that he is cool under pressure.

"I'm just going to put in the work," he said. "I have to get fit. I'm just here to push myself ... learn and get better.

"As I told the coach from the start, I'm here with a blank slate."

Bolt noted that he would accept and respect Mulvey's judgment on whether the Mariners should offer a contract, and he said he is ready to play any position.

Bolt added that he received offers from clubs in France and Spain, but they weren't in the top division, and he would have had to learn a new language.

Mulvey continues to insist that there is no timeline for the potential recruit, who could be unleashed for the first time in an Aug. 31 trial game, to prove his worth.

"We don't have to make a decision tomorrow or the next day ... I'm happy for him to be here," he said, rubbishing the idea that Bolt could be a distraction.

"The guy is a winner. Eight gold medals in the Olympics, you don't just do that by having great ability."

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.

The bulk of the squad took part in a simulated match drill while Bolt did some planks and other exercises under the watchful eye of Andrew Young, the Mariners' head of performance.

It has been just over a year since Bolt retired from athletics. He previously trained with clubs in Germany, South Africa and Norway without being offered a contract.

Bolt's presence has already resulted in unprecedented worldwide media coverage for the A-League.

-- Courtesy of global.espn.com


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