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Usain Bolt Shows True Striker’s Worth With Two Goals, Two Excellent Celebrations

This whole Usain Bolt soccer experiment thing? It might just work.

Back in August, Bolt played in an exhibition match for the Central Coast Mariners, a club from Australia’s A-League. He didn’t score, but he showed he’s got a bit of skill to go with his blazing speed. 

The 32-year-old got his first start in a preseason friendly against Macarthur South West on Friday, a match he said could make or break his career as a footballer. The 6-5 Jamaican showed he might actually have a future in football with a pair of second-half goals as his side won 4-0. 

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More important than the goals, however, were the celebrations to follow the strikes, which showed the Jamaican was truly in top form. Because everyone knows if you’re going to score, you better have some damn good celebrations to go with it so everyone remembers who got the goal — otherwise, why even bother scoring?

Bolt’s first goal was a strong, low finish after he was played in by a nice ball from former Fulham and Leeds United forward Ross McCormack. After celebrating with teammates, Bolt made sure to pull out his signature lightning bolt celebration.

Bolt’s second goal wasn’t so much about his skill as the ineptitude of the Macarthur defense. The Jamaican No. 95 pounced after the opposing goalkeeper and defender collided trying to reach a relatively harmless ball. Bolt had a second celebration dance ready to go, this time doing the shoot dance.

Not a bad performance for the first Usain Bolt soccer start.

Well, kind of.

Bolt actually failed to impress for much of the match, struggling to keep possession or connect with passes. But a goal scorer — Bolt started as a main striker — is there to score goals, and that’s just what he did.

Bolt, though, recognizes he’s got room for improvement. 

"I’ve been working, trying to get fit to the level that I can play for 45 minutes," Bolt told the Central Coast website after the match. "To me, I played well and happy with the progress I’m making. I was telling myself if I got the guy off my shoulders, set up myself and hit the target, that was the key thing.

"The coach told me you will get chances, don’t get frustrated if you miss it’s a part of the game, you got to continue pushing till you get those chances. I need more games to get better and to know where to be. The coach will play me in different places, because of my speed, other strikers.”

Bolt’s appearance drew 6,000 fans to the preseason friendly (about 4,000 fewer than his debut in August). He said he understands he isn’t guaranteed a spot on the team despite his fame as an eight-time Olympic gold medalist. 

"We will sit down with the club, discuss and see if we want to move forward and what I need to do and how to do that,” Bolt said. “For me I’m taking this a step at a time and I want to push myself to see how far I can go. We have to sit down after this game, the season will come up, figure out what were got to do but until that I’m here to train.

"All I can do is do what I wanted to do, prove myself. They’ve seen what I’m capable of, how I am training, they need to analyses and determine if I’m good enough for the club. Overall, I should work on everything, my positioning is much better, I’m running in space much better. Controlling the ball and vision is my poorest areas even though they’ve improved a lot while I’ve been here they could improve a lot more. I know what I need to do to get better, it’s all about if I get time, play with the guys at training. You can train all you want but it’s all about playing time, it’s a lot like track and field.”

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