Off-Base Percentage: Usain Bolt Wants to Play Soccer


Off-Base Percentage is a weekly post about the lighter side of sports, mainly baseball. Whether it occurs on the field, in the locker room, or in the media, if it is a little ‘off-base’ then it is fair game. If you are looking for analysis of a player, team, or sport it won’t be found in this post. This is for the sports fan that wants to take a step back and look at sports from a ‘different’ angle. Enjoy.

Sometimes when I come across a story I have trouble telling if it is a serious article or if it is just a buzz piece. That’s exactly what happened when I read an article about Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt wanting to play for England’s most notable club team, Manchester United. After reading the article it seems that Bolt is pretty serious about his capabilities on the soccer field, but I will not be convinced until I see it.

Fresh off sprinting the 100m in his 9.63 second light jog, Usain Bolt made the statement that while in London he would love to tryout for Manchester United and if Alex Ferguson, the club’s manager, called him up to tryout he would jump on the opportunity.

I am not one hundred percent certain about Bolt’s past soccer skills, but I know that he is now a sprinter. He may be a great soccer player for all I know, but as a soccer player it really offends me when people assume that they could do better than the professionals that are out there training every day. I am sure it is the same way for every one else in their particular sport. Yes, he would be the fastest player on the field and he could chase down every poor ball. But does he have the skill to bring the ball down to his feet mid-stride and then place ball around the goalkeeper for a goal? I do not know. It seems that Bolt has a little hubris thinking he can play the highest level of soccer with some of the most talented players in the world. Shouldn’t he try the MLS or USL first?

This story reminds me of Chad Ochocinco trying out for the MLS’s Sporting Kansas City. He thought he could play at a premier level but could barely hang with their reserve team. And that is only because Kansas City wanted the free press. I know many soccer players that could do more than hang with their reserves if they had the right connections. I understand that some athletes are gifted in more than one sport. Dave Winfield could have been pro in football, basketball, or baseball. Steve Nash could play professional soccer if he chose to. But there is one glaring difference between them and the likes of Ochocinco and Bolt–they don’t talk about it.

I am pretty sure that this will end up being another light-hearted story to keep the spotlight on Usain longer than once every four years. It may even end up in a tryout and no contract. But if for some reason Bolt impresses the living daylight out of Manchester United an receives a contract for the first team I will eat my words. But for now, I want Bolt to stick to running faster than any man in the world.

Do you think Usain Bolt could play professional soccer in England? Will he ever sprint a full 100 meters? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @Believelander.

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