Eleven seasons after Quaranta turned pro at 16 and joined D.C. United as the youngest player in MLS at that time, he announced his retirement Wednesday.
In those years, Quaranta experienced the best and worst of D.C. United and the best and worst of himself. The Baltimore native earned an All-Star nod in 2001, helped capture the 2004 MLS Cup and suffered through the worst season in franchise history in 2010. He also bottomed out in the throes of addiction before resurrecting his MLS career in D.C., and he scored his lone international goal in a U.S. national team jersey at RFK Stadium in the summer of 2009, an unforgettable strike in front of those who knew him best.
Arguably, the best years of his career were his last four in Washington, where he was his most consistent, even if the best he did was flirt with becoming truly elite.
With D.C. United making the tough but correct call to decline his contract option this offseason, Quaranta has made an even tougher yet admirable decision to focus on growing the game and helping others who are battling addiction.
He does so as a mature, even-keeled young man, one with a family, priorities and perspective, the last which will be sorely missed in the D.C. United locker room, where not a single player under contract has more than three years' experience in Washington. Few of them will reach either the heights or depths of Quaranta's unique career.
- Craig Stouffer