Soccer

Usain Bolt takes another shot at professional soccer

la-1533658755-guf71mwgk0-snap-image
Former Olympic and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt controls the ball during a charity match against France’s 1998 World Cup national team on June 12.
(Thibault Camus / Associated Press)

Now that his career as the fastest man in the world has ended, Usain Bolt is making another run at becoming a professional soccer player.

The Jamaican sprinter announced Tuesday he will begin an “indefinite training period” with the Central Coast Mariners of Australia’s A-League.

“It has been my dream to play professional football, and I know it will involve a lot of hard work,” Bolt said in a statement, adding: “I always say that ‘anything is possible, don’t think limits’ and I look forward to the challenge.”

Beginning with the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bolt won the 100 and 200 meters at three consecutive Summer Games. He added two victories in the 400-meter relay, with yet another win in that event taken away because a Jamaican teammate was caught doping.

Eight golds — and a spate of world records — made him the greatest sprinter in history when he retired soon after the 2017 world championships.

His longtime desire to play soccer has included tryouts with teams in Germany, Norway and South Africa.

The deal with Central Coast does not guarantee Bolt a contract. He is scheduled to join the team later this month.

“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,” said Shaun Mielekamp, the team’s chief executive. “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 instill belief. Hopefully, Usain can help us on this mission.”

david.wharton@latimes.com

Follow @LAtimesWharton on Twitter