Faces of First Kick: Santino Quaranta
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DC United midfielder Quaranta retiring after 11 seasons

At the 27 years of age, most players are entering the prime of their careers. That may yet be the case for D.C. United midfielder Santino Quaranta, but it won’t be as a player.

Quaranta announced his retirement on Wednesday, ending an 11-year MLS playing career. The midfielder finishes his MLS career with 27 goals and 29 assists more than 12,100 minutes played, as well as earning 15 caps with the US national team and scoring one goal for the US in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Quaranta won MLS Cup 2004 and the 2008 US Open Cup with United, as well as earning an All-Star nod in 2001.

“I have no regrets at all,” Quaranta said of his retirement in a statement. “I have accomplished a lot in the game. That was a huge part of the decision; I felt like I have accomplished enough.”

Apart from stints with the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls from 2006 to 2007, Quaranta has played his entire career with the Black-and-Red.

“In terms of the club and leaving D.C. United, it is a place that is near and dear to my heart, with Kevin [Payne], Dave [Kasper] and Benny [Olsen] — whose friendship I will always cherish — and all of the other coaches and people that I have come across in this club,” Quaranta said. “They have all meant a lot to me, and the club is a place that is always going to be special to me and my family.”

In a 2008 interview, Quaranta admitted a five-year addiction to both alcohol and painkillers, as well as a positive test for cocaine in 2006. Quaranta has been sober since 2007.

“Tino’s retirement from D.C. United is, for me, a bittersweet moment,” said United president and CEO Payne in a statement. “On the one hand, I’m sorry to see him end his playing days. But on the other hand, I’m so happy to see Santino enter a new phase in his life. He’s decided to spend his time giving back – giving back to children, and giving back in his support of people with substance abuse problems. I’m very proud of him and happy for him and his family.”

Explained Quaranta of his plans, “Looking ahead to the future, there are many options. My first and foremost efforts will be with Pipeline Soccer Club in Baltimore. I’m looking forward to building and growing the game in Baltimore and being able to give back to the youth there. I also plan to be more involved in helping others with addictions, helping people recover. I know a lot of people who are involved in the mission, and I hope I am able to give back and assist others as I’ve been helped.”

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