Sprint legend Usain Bolt will join Central Coast Mariners for an “indefinite training period”, the Australian club have confirmed.
Bolt, 31, has already trained with Borussia Dortmund, South African club Sundowns and Norway’s Stromsgodset.
The Jamaican, an eight-time Olympic champion and the 100m and 200m world record holder, will not be guaranteed a professional contract at the club.
“I am very excited about coming to Australia,” said Bolt.
“It has been my dream to play professional football and I know that it will involve a lot of hard work and training to get to the level required to play and make an impact in the A-League.
“I always say that ‘anything is possible, don’t think limits’ and I look forward to the challenge.”
Bolt, who retired from athletics in 2017, will link up with the A-League side for the first time later this month.
“I hope I can make a positive contribution to the club and look forward to meeting the other players, staff and fans in the coming weeks,” he added.
Shaun Mielekamp, chief executive at the Central Coast Mariners, said Bolt would be welcomed “with open arms”, but that the club remain “grounded and focused on the job in hand”.
“Our goal is to be the most innovative, entertaining and community minded sports brand in Australia, this is our competitive edge,” he added.
“Having Usain Bolt come to the club to train and hopefully develop into a professional football player is perfectly aligned to this part of the club’s philosophy.
“It is important that we don’t get too caught up in the hype of possibilities, but the reality is that Usain Bolt has placed his faith in the Central Coast Mariners to accelerate his football journey.
“Whilst we all know this must be tempered with the reality that there is a job to do and hard work ahead, we are committed to building a team that will win matches and instil belief.
“Hopefully Usain can help us on this mission.”