Usain Bolt makes soccer debut for Central Coast Mariners

Bolt was named among the Central Coast Mariners substitutes as a triallist

Bolt was named among the Central Coast Mariners substitutes as a triallistSTEVE CHRISTO AP

Usain Bolt made his much-anticipated professional football debut on Friday - but exhausted in a 20-minute cameo for Central Coast Mariners.

Nearly 10,000 people packed the Central Coast Stadium to see the eight-time Olympic champion - wearing the No. 95 shirt in a nod to his 100m world record time - but he was unable to get on the scoresheet as his team-mates thrashed the amateurs 6-1.

Bolt, who retired from athletics a year ago, has previously tried out with clubs in Germany, South Africa and Norway to no avail, with the Mariners hoping to turn him into A-League material for when the season starts in late October.

He was named on the team sheet among the substitutes with the letter "T" for triallist next to his name.

The Jamaican sprinter wore the shirt No 95 - a nod to his world record 100m time of 9.58 seconds, which he ran to take gold at the World Athletics Championship in Berlin back in 2009.

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The Jamaican initially took up a position on the left wing, but had no joy with his first touch, as the ball clipped the back of one of his colourful boots.

The world-record holder in the 100- and 200-meters, Bolt said in a post-match interview that he did have some butterflies. It was what I expected.

"He was on a hiding to nothing a little bit nervous, but I'm quite happy with him'".

There's clearly still plenty of work to do for the 32-year-old if he is to earn an A-League contract, but time is on his side, with the Mariners vowing to give him as long as 12 months to get him up to speed.

"I'll be playing much more time, it's just about working and taking my time".

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The mariners won the game against Central Coast Select 6 - 1.

"My fitness is much better".

Before Friday's outing, the last time Bolt played in a friendly match, he shared the pitch with football greats like Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry and Christian Vieri.

"He was short of a gallop when it comes to match fitness", Slater said.

The man with the famous "Lightning Bolt" celebration failed to strike in the game, but had a half-chance shortly after coming on when the ball was whipped in, but misjudged the flight of the cross. "But look, it's a special moment for him".

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