'I feel like I’m improving': Bolt sharpening up before October hit-out

Usain Bolt’s journey to become a professional footballer will enter a new phase on Friday, 12 October when the Central Coast Mariners take on Macarthur South West United.

The Mariners will travel to Campbelltown Sports Stadium to face a team of NPL players from Sydney’s South West coached by former Caltex Socceroo Nick Carle.

It appears as a potential third hit-out for the Jamaican following his debut against Central Coast Select in August and a recent cameo against North Shore Mariners.

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“I’m definitely excited and if I get to start it will be a big thing for me,” Bolt told the Central Coast Mariners official website.

“It would show that the work that I’ve been putting in is really paying off and the coach has confidence in me – so that would be a big step for me.

“Playing 45 minutes for me [against North Shore] was good, in the last 10 minutes I started to get tired but I pushed through and that’s because of training.

“I feel like I’m improving. My touch is getting better, I’ve got a while to go but with more training and more dedication to my craft I will be fine.

“For me to score, it would be a big thing. The Central Coast Mariners took a chance on me and the best way that I can pay them back is to score goals. If I could score a goal for this club, that would mean I am heading in the right direction and showing the club that their chance in me is paying off.”

Central Coast boss Mike Mulvey earmarked the clash against the Macarthur side as the most important game of the Mariners’ pre-season, and said Bolt will be handed every opportunity to impress going forward.

“Usain is progressing and that’s the main thing,” Mulvey told the Mariners' official website.

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“From the outset, we said he needed time, we said we would give him 12 months if need be.

“A reasonable assumption would be that around January we should be judging where he’s at. We’re going to be ramping up our individual sessions with him over the next few weeks, so he will be given every opportunity,” Mulvey said.

The fixture next month looms not only as a chance for Bolt to make his mark but an opportunity for the Macarthur South West region to showcase a passionate football supporter base, as part of the region’s joint submission to be included for Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season expansion.

Both teams will also be competing for the ‘Shake It Up Cup’ initiative that will raise awareness for the Shake It Up Australia Foundation

Shake It Up Australia is a not-for-profit organisation established in partnership with The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) that promotes and funds Parkinson’s disease research in Australia aimed at better treatments and ultimately a cure.

Bolt at Mariners training