Adelaide coach Kurz questions Usain Bolt’s A-League attempt


Jamaica's Usain Bolt reacts during training with the Central Coast Mariners soccer team in Newcastle, Australia, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. Bolt's attempt to win a contract to play as a professional in Australian football's A-League began in earnest on his 32nd birthday Tuesday. (Steve Christo/AP)

SYDNEY, Australia — Germany-born Marco Kurz has become the first coach in Australia’s A-League to openly question the wisdom of offering a trial to eight-time Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt.

Adelaide United coach Kurz, who previously coached FC Kaiserslautern and Fortuna Dusseldorf, said Bolt’s trial with the Central Coast Mariners may come at the expense of young Australian players.

Kurz said he wasn’t in a position to judge Bolt’s football ability but said the A-League should concentrate on fostering local talent.

“It’s up to … Usain Bolt, but if you will improve the league then you must bring quality,” Kurz said Monday. “And he must have a higher quality than the players that are here. That is, for me, the point.

“If it’s only to bring some more supporters on the game day in the stadium, it’s for me not the right way.”

Bolt has just begun an indefinite trial with the Gosford-based Mariners in the hope of winning an A-League contract and fulfilling a long-held ambition to play professional football. He has previously trialed unsuccessfully with teams in Germany, South Africa and Norway.

Kurz said the A-League should have a commitment to recruiting proven players and developing young Australians.

“Because I think the aim for the league must be to improve young Australian players and not to to bring a sprinter in (their) position,” he said.

“I will see what is the next step of Usain Bolt but for sure he must have the quality to play … he is fast enough but I don’t know about Usain if he is good on the ball or not. I know him as a perfect sprinter but not as a footballer.”

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