United cuts ties with Curley alum Quaranta

November 30, 2011|The Washington Post

Santino Quaranta had a hunch D.C. United wouldn't exercise the option on his contract, but he did think the club for which he had played 10 of his 11 Major League Soccer seasons would try to retain him with a reduced salary.

Instead, he said, he didn't hear anything from United officials until midday Tuesday when coach Ben Olsen called him from a scouting trip in Europe. Quaranta wouldn't return to the club, Olsen told him.

"I figured all along we'd get it done, regardless of whether they picked up the option," said Quaranta, a 27-year-old Archbishop Curley alumnus who earned about $120,000 this season. "It's disappointing. Done deal, see you later. It's puzzling. It hurts. You put so much into your organization. 'D.C. United' were the first words my [21/2-year-old] son learned."

Quaranta, a forward, joined United in 2001 at age 16 and, after a promising rookie season, struggled with injuries for years. Substance abuse derailed his career, and after brief stays with New York and Los Angeles, he was given a second chance by United. Quaranta regained his form in 2008, earning a place on the U.S. national team, and started 68 league matches over three seasons. This year, however, he made just 10 starts (21 appearances) and contributed one goal and four assists.

Quaranta will gauge interest from other MLS clubs ahead of the two-stage re-entry drafts, but with deep family roots in the Washington-Baltimore area, he said he would have to think long and hard about resuming his MLS career elsewhere.

"This place means a lot to me. I'm going to miss all of the supporters, all of the people. It's hard, but that's business. I don't know what's going to happen next."

United also announced that it has declined the contract options on eight other players: Clyde Simms, Marc Burch, Devon McTavish, Kurt Morsink and Brandon Barklage, Steve Cronin, Jed Zayner and Joseph Ngwenya.

"We need to have some flexibility with the players we're targeting to bring in," general manager Dave Kasper told MLSsoccer.com. "The unfortunate part of dealing in a salary cap environment is you always have difficult choices every year with your rosters."

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