Jamaican FA President Says Usain Bolt Could Be Called Up to National Team

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 1, 2018

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 12:  Usain Bolt of the Mariners walks onto the pitch during the pre-season friendly match between the Central Coast Mariners and Macarthur South West United at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on October 12, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Matt King/Getty Images

Usain Bolt is yet to sign terms with his first professional club, but the President of Jamaica's football federation, Michael Ricketts, has said he'll get called up to the national team if he proves he's good enough. 

The eight-time Olympic gold-medal-winning sprinter was offered a contract by Australian A-League club the Central Coast Mariners, with talks said to be ongoing. Ricketts told ESPN FC (h/t AS) he's still hopeful Bolt will sign for a side in his native country, adding a national team call-up is possible as long as he's up to the standard:

"I am a little disappointed that Usain hasn't signed up with a Jamaican club. That would give us a chance to see a lot more of him.

"If he shows he's good enough to make the Jamaican team then he will be called up, but we are following his progress—we are watching him closely.

"The coach will make a decision, but we would love to see him in a serious, real match situation."

Bolt's most recent outing for Central Coast Mariners came in a trial match in October, where he scored twice against Macarthur South West United:

Usain St. Leo Bolt @usainbolt

Anything is possible don’t think limits https://t.co/bcLgxnBB8x

That display perhaps gave the A-League club something to think about, however, coach Mike Mulvey spoke to Fox Sports in October and didn't appear to be a major supporter of the move:

FOX Sports Football @FOXFOOTBALL

'It's news to me'. Mariners coach Mike Mulvey responds to @DanielGarb after reports surfaced that Usain Bolt has been offered a contract by the Central Coast Club. MORE: https://t.co/8JOIidjEi5 https://t.co/Tp1hKLlfSC

The commercial connotations of Bolt's migration into professional football are far-reaching, and Jamaica stands to benefit from extending the sporting lifespan of arguably its greatest ever athlete.

His advantages in pace are well-known as the fastest man to have ever lived, but Ricketts went on to say he wants to see more from the speedster before he can turn out for the Reggae Boyz:

"We are hopeful because Usain would certainly be a crowd puller. If he turns up in a Jamaican outfit then a lot of people would want to turn up and watch Usain Bolt play football.

"Usain has a special attribute in his speed. If he can add a little bit of skill, some flair, he could supplement this Jamaican team.

"The players would certainly welcome someone like Usain. I have had informal discussions with some of them and they are excited at the prospect of playing with Usain.

"If he can make the transition from being a superstar on the track to being a good enough football player, then we will certainly call him up."

The Jamaican FA President even gave a vague timeframe as to when we might see Bolt in international colours, adding: "We are presently in a competition, the Nations League. After the Nations League, we go into the Gold Cup. By then we will have had a chance to look at him, and we'll be in a position to make a decision."

Not all have backed Bolt to succeed, though. Perth Glory and former Republic of Ireland striker Andy Keogh recently criticised the sprint king's touch, per ESPN FC:


Former Wolves and Millwall player Andy Keogh isn’t impressed by Usain Bolt’s footballing prowess. https://t.co/ynBv2jivnK

Al Jazeera's Lee Wellings shared his opinion that the media machine surrounding Bolt had got him this far:

Lee Wellings @LeeW_Sport

Nice one Andy #Keogh :) This ‘story’ pushed for months by Bolt’s army of publicists and lapped up by gullible journalists has demonstrated how celebrity can outpace common sense. He is village standard at ⚽️ https://t.co/0QsGEBeuK8

Bolt has already represented his country at the pinnacle of sport and won Olympic gold on three different continents, but his venture into football could realise another Jamaican dream.