Indian adventure too good to pass up for Quaranta

Faces of First Kick: Santino Quaranta

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Santino Quaranta’s retirement didn’t last long.

The former D.C. United midfielder, who retired last December, recently agreed to join the Premier League Soccer in India, a new league scheduled to launch in February.

Stars like Fabio Cannavaro, Robbie Fowler, Hernán Crespo and Robert Pirés are signed on and, a week-and-a-half ago, Quaranta joined their ranks.

Quite simply, it was an opportunity that Quaranta couldn’t turn down.

“I was content being here and doing what I was doing,” he told MLSsoccer.com over the phone. “I didn’t need to do this. … It was an easy decision in terms of the financial aspect of it, and then once I got all the details about what they were trying to do, that it had some real meaning, who was going, and I was in.”

The chance arose through Quaranta’s connections with former D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno, who knew that club legend Marco Etcheverry was invited to coach in the league. At first, Quaranta didn’t give it much thought.

But when he heard who was going to be involved, the length of the league – just seven weeks – and the financial benefits, Quaranta decided to give it a go.

“The short period of time that it was, to be an ambassador for this country and to be able to see another place and to have an experience like that, it was really simple,” he said.

While he is currently the only American signed on, Quaranta won’t be the only representative with MLS ties. Along with Etcheverry’s involvement as a coach, former Vancouver Whitecaps coach Teitur Thodarson is reportedly set to coach as well.

The six-team league will be based in the Indian state of West Bengal. Quaranta will learn which franchise he’ll join on Jan. 30, with the teams based in the cities of Kolkata, Barasat, Howrah, Haldia, Durgapur and Siliguri.

After that, it’s only a matter of getting a visa and heading over on Feb. 10. The 27-year-old is looking forward to the experience – and is only committed to this year.

“It’ll bring some notoriety to the area, it’ll be something that should be fun for some of the local players, and they get to play with guys like Cannavaro and these guys,” he said. “It’s a good situation for a lot of people over there. Whether it turns out to be something long-term, I don’t know.”