Santino Quaranta got exactly what he wanted, even if he needed to sweat for an extra 20 minutes. Devin Barclay was thrilled when he received his second choice.
The two teen-agers, former Baltimore high school standouts, recently signed multi-year contracts with Major League Soccer. Yesterday morning, they found out where they would be playing when the league held its annual draft in Davie, Fla.
Quaranta was taken eighth in the first round by D.C. United, the team he fervently hoped would select him. Barclay wanted to go to Los Angeles, but was taken by the Tampa Bay Mutiny second in the second round, 14th overall.
Quaranta and United had expressed their mutual affection for weeks, a courtship threatened only by the D.C. club's lack of first- and second-round picks. This situation was remedied between late Saturday night and early yesterday morning when United traded four starters and received, among other things, three of the top eight picks.
Still, when United chose first-team All-Americans Mark Lisi (Clemson) and Ryan Nelsen (Stanford) with the third and fourth picks, Quaranta said he got a slight case of nerves.
"Just watching the names go up, I really wanted to go to D.C. United," said Quaranta, 16, a Baltimore native who played two years at Archbishop Curley and became the youngest player ever signed by MLS. "It would have been an honor to go anywhere, but it's one of the best feelings being close to home."
United coach Thomas Rongen plans to bring Quaranta along slowly, initially as a right-flank midfielder but also trying him on the front line and in the central midfield. "Without a doubt, we feel we got a very special young man," Rongen said. "He has all the tools to make it to the next level."
Tampa Bay coach Alfonso Mondelo projects Barclay, the third-youngest player to join MLS, as a starting striker, he hopes as early as this year. Mondelo said he was impressed by the 17-year-old's playing skills and maturity.
"He is definitely one of the brightest prospects in the U.S. today," Mondelo said. "We will give him every opportunity to win a starting position. I do know the young man, and he is the type of player who can contribute."
Barclay, an Annapolis native, spent two years at McDonogh. "I can't wait to get a good nap in and relax a little," he said. "I'm very excited and completely honored Alfonso Mondelo would pick me."
Defender Nick Downing, who left Maryland with one year of eligibility remaining, was the ninth pick in the second round, 21st overall, by New England.