Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz has labelled the standard of NPL SA pitches as “shit” and says it’s a major reason why the club has failed to recruit many players from the local competition.
None of the Reds’ six off-season signings for the 2018/19 campaign have come from the NPL SA while Ryan Strain is a rare example of one of the current squad who has played locally.
Adelaide also opted to sign left-back Scott Galloway to his fourth A-League club this off-season rather than recruit a local talent to replace Europe-bound Ben Garuccio.
Kurz explained that the standard of the surfaces in the NPL SA meant he had to be a fortune teller to identify players capable of reaching the A-League level.
“It’s not easy to have an idea if you watch NPL games because the pitch is always shit,” Kurz said.
“It’s not really soccer. It’s kick and rush.
“You must have a good fantasy for players. That’s the reason it’s not easy.
“We have a look at our NPL league and if we see a talented player we’ll pick him up, of course.”
The German argued improving the standard of pitches wasn’t easy given football’s relative popularity compared to other sports.
“It’s normal that the pitches in the NPL aren’t good enough,” he said.
“They’re not the only teams who train on the pitches, they have reserves and young teams. It’s not easy to find a lot of good quality pitches for these teams.”
He also said better coaching and education was more important to the development of young footballers than pitches.
“You must go a step back,” he said.
“For example, in Europe we have better improvement from the first years when they start at academies with good coaches. That’s more important than pitches.
“When I saw the young boys, they play after school the whole time on small courts and it’s normal because it’s not the number one sport in Australia.
“To improve a sport you must go back to the basics and that’s the young people. To school young people you need high quality coaches and then they can improve.
“I don’t think pitches are that important, it’s the quality of the coaches and their exercises.”
United are away to APIA Leichhardt in the FFA Cup quarter-finals from 7:30pm AEST on Wednesday.