'The players have really accepted me': Bolt reflects on football debut
Usain Bolt reflected on a ‘wonderful moment’ after making his professional footballing debut on Friday night.
Bolt’s dream was realised after a 20-minute cameo in Central Coast Mariners’ 6-1 victory over Central Coast Select in Gosford.
ALL EYES ON GOSFORD: World reacts to Bolt's debut
Mariners boss Mike Mulvey deployed Bolt in a wide-left role and although he saw little of the ball as both sides tired, the eight-time gold medal winner was eager to get in front of goal and make attacking runs into the box.
"It was good. It was what I expected. The crowd gave me plenty of motivation,” Bolt told Fox Sports after the game.
"I think my fitness is much better, that the first week since I came here. I'm grateful to the Mariners for giving me the chance.”
Despite Bolt visibly tiring towards the end of the match, he was so close to marking his dream debut with a goal.
The Jamaican came within inches of turning home a cross from fellow trialist Andrija Majdevac at the back post in stoppage time.
"Right now, I'm just trying to get used to the guys, it's a wonderful moment, to actually get on the field and play professional football,” Bolt continued.
"The players have really accepted me, trying to teach me things at training, encouraging me to push myself.”
Jack Clisby’s brace and promising debuts for the likes of Mario Shabow, Josh Macdonald and Jordan Murray were also highlights of the pre-season hit out for the Hyundai A-League outfit.
The Mariners left back opened the floodgates for Mulvey’s men with a goal after 20 seconds before Michael McGlinchey, Peter Kekeris and Shabow all got in on the first half rout.
A bullet header from Clisby saw Central Coast enter the sheds five goals to the good while new signing Macdonald continued the onslaught with a back-post header early in the second half.
Tim Knight ensured Central Coast Select would not leave empty handed and curled in a free kick late in the second half, before Bolt took centre stage.