LONDON – Usain Bolt will get the chance to fulfill one of his sporting dreams after being given a "trial" with English Premier League soccer club Manchester United.
Bolt discussed his love for soccer after his sensational performance in the men’s 100-meter final on Sunday, insisting he has the physical attributes to make it as a professional player.
United has responded by giving him the chance to prove his talents following the Olympics, with a source telling Yahoo! Sports that the Jamaican superstar will be invited to the team’s training base in Carrington, a suburb of Manchester.
"Just like everyone else, the players are huge fans of Bolt and have massive respect for him," the source said. "We would love to have him along. After he spoke about the club after the most-watched race in the world, it makes perfect sense.
"We would welcome him with open arms, and it would certainly make all the boys and the coaching staff pretty excited to meet him and see his skills. They would love to see what he has got with the ball."
United’s veteran defender Rio Ferdinand contacted Bolt through Twitter on Tuesday to offer congratulations on his Olympic record triumph in the 100 meters. "If you want that trial at Man Utd shout me," Ferdinand tweeted. "I’ll speak to the boss. Well done in 100m."
Bolt replied: "After the Olympics we work on that … lol … thanks man."
As it turns out, United’s marketing staff is already working on the trial. The primary incentive is not, perhaps surprisingly, the positive publicity that having pictures of Bolt in a United shirt would bring.
[ Related: Usain Bolt's legend grows after 100m victory ]
United and manager Sir Alex Ferguson are conscious of the value of keeping the team’s spirits high and go to extreme lengths to care for the players. Players can call a club employee at any time of day or night for assistance with even the most basic task.
Such an environment has helped United claim 12 out of the past 20 EPL titles. Inviting athletes from other sports to the training venue is seen as a helpful distraction.
"Think about it," the source said. "It would be the kind of thing that would give everyone a lift. We’ve done similar things before."
The move on United’s part is proof of Bolt’s remarkable worldwide appeal, which has only increased since his devastating surge past Yohan Blake and Justin Gatlin to clinch the gold last weekend.
[ Related: Bolt miffed about rules for Olympics athletes ]
Although Bolt's blistering speed would be a major advantage in soccer, it's unlikely that without years of training he can match the skill of United's stars – though he and the squad will have fun finding out.
Bolt insists he has the ability to play at the top level, even though soccer is not his strongest sport outside track. That distinction lies with cricket, with some in Jamaica believing Bolt could have had a career as an international standard player if he had not decided to stick with sprinting.
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