Usain Bolt taking week-long break from soccer trial with Central Coast Mariners

AP, REUTERS

Star sprinter Usain Bolt is taking a week-long break from his professional soccer trial with the A-League’s Central Coast Mariners.

In a statement on Saturday, the Mariners said Bolt would fly out of Australia on Sunday to an undisclosed destination.

A Mariners spokesman said “after completing his first three weeks of training with the Central Coast Mariners, the club wishes to advise that Usain Bolt will be abroad from Sunday 9 September to Sunday 16 September for a previously planned commitment.

“This commitment was agreed between Usain Bolt and the Central Coast Mariners before his training period commenced with the club.”

Bolt played for the Mariners for the first time last week in a preseason match against a Central Coast amateur selection, attracting a stronger-than-usual crowd of more than 10,000.

Bolt’s attempt to transform himself from the face of global athletics to professional soccer player has generated huge publicity for the Mariners, who finished bottom of the 10-team A-League last season.

It has also drawn skepticism, with Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz questioning Bolt’s open-ended trial, saying the A-League should focus on recruiting proven talents and improving Australian youngsters.