Can Usain Bolt Light Up the A-League?
Usain Bolt is a winner. He left with a gold medal in eight of the nine Olympic events he participated in. That’s not normal. His running boots are hanging up alongside his medals, trophies, and certificates from a long, illustrious athletics career.
In the wake of his athletics retirement, Bolt has set out a clear mission: to start a professional football career. Aged 31, you’d say it’s quite an ask. Who are we to doubt arguably the greatest athlete that has ever lived?
For several years, even when he was still running, he speculated about his affection for football, notably Manchester United. He’s been photographed with club legends, active players and… the man he talks about so much; Sir Alex Ferguson. Upon the Scotsman’s retirement, the Caribbean sprinter stated that it was “a stressful day” for him.
With a bronze medal from the World IAAF Championships last year, Bolt decided to change sports, actively looking for opportunities in football. Training by himself (it’s not like he’s short of resources to do this) as well as with established teams.
The Olympic Champion is going the right way about it, he’s getting involved. He worked with Stromsgodset of the Norwegian Eliteserien, where he even managed a friendly game appearance against the Norway U19 side. He briefly trained with Borussia Dortmund in anticipation for his Soccer Aid appearance, where he served as captain.
Now he’s with Central Coast Mariners. It is important to stress, at present, Bolt is still in a trial period. He’s not an official player right now. He’s acknowledged as being with the club, though. Oh, it’s genius for everyone.
Primarily, Bolt gets to play out his dream. He gets to live like a professional footballer. Both parties respect that his training with the club is for an indefinite duration. Decoding it, the club is happy for him to use their facilities as much as he likes. Bolt gets to be a footballer, even if he hasn’t signed an official contract. The opportunity is even there for him to progress, lest we forget he’s never played in a single professional football match.
Now should he graduate from the doldrums of the A-League club’s academy, thusly making it there, he offers so much. Firstly, on the pitch, he’s incredibly fast. Central Coast finished dead last in the league season. The division doesn’t observe relegation, it’s still bad to be rock-bottom like they were last year. The team attack with a definite game plan with him in the side, work the ball with speed to Bolt. Hope he can pick a pass or finish. In time this time, CCM fans can hope he’ll be competent in doing so.
Despite being a cool, calm and collected character, Bolt enters, Bolt commands respect. You see, it’s hard to use pronouns, Bolt is god-like and an eight-time Olympic champion, after all. Imagine you’re a CCM player. Alongside Bolt. You know if you don’t give him that killer ball, he’s getting you out of the team. You’ll play for his respect and like you’re an eight-time Olympic champion, even it is to please him alone.
It’s never nice to say, in a league with ten teams, Central Coast is the least exciting. The club’s 14-year history foretold two title wins, but the latest was over six years ago. Now, the club lacks any branded football as well as carrying a media image to match it. The badge is boring and club’s demographic ‘The Central Coast’ is possibly a little too big for anyone to pledge allegiance to it. It’s like saying: “I support a club from Southern England”.
Yet, you can throw the old marketing strategies out the window. The Jamaican Olympian is here. You can already see the Jamaican colours lighting up the Central Coast stadium. Reggae, ska, maybe even some dancehall to be played over the PA. Who won’t want to a kick a ball around with Bolt at halftime? Can you resist an official CCM Bolt training shirt with the number 9.58 on the back? No way! You can’t! I’ve already ordered mine. The world athletics superstar will make the club relevant!
Bolt is here. Bolt is there. Bolt is already the face of the club. The management might have already said he’ll be treated like everyone else, quite frankly it’s impossible to do that. This isn’t a mortal being joining the club. This is already BOLT F.C.