Thursday, July 20, 2006

Baltimore Soccer Star

Jim Williams: Quaranta is looking for some hometown fans
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Jim Williams, The Examiner
Jul 20, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 2 mins ago)
Current rank: # 14 of 5,269 articles

BALTIMORE - Santino Quaranta makes the drive every day from his Baltimore home to RFK Stadium in Washington where he plays for D.C. United.

He was a Baltimore soccer star at Archbishop Curley High School before D.C. United drafted him at age 16 and then sent him to the I.M.G. Soccer Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where he trained to become a professional player.

The talented 21-year-old is passionate about soccer and this has been a tough year for him due to injuries.

We talked about soccer, Baltimore and some of his accomplishments.

Jim Williams: How tough has this year been for you?

Santino Quaranta: “Very, tough. I had a great run with the U.S. National team and played in a number of qualifying games. Had it not been a bad hamstring injury, I might have been able to make the World Cup team. But now I just want to get really match fit to help United make it to another MLS Championship.”

JW: You played high school soccer in Baltimore. Is the area a good soccer area?

SQ: “Baltimore is one of the best soccer area’s in the country. There is an abundance of talent and there are some wonderful fans. I know they follow the Blast but I don’t know why we have not been able to get more of the fans down to our games. I have a friend who is not even a sports fan from Baltimore and I brought him to a few games and now he is hooked. I really would love to see more Baltimore fans come down and watch us play.”

JW: What are the biggest accomplishments you have had thus far in soccer?

SQ: “First of all, being part of the best organization in American professional soccer with D.C. United as we won last year’s MLS Cup Championship. It was fantastic, playing for the United States National team under Bruce Arena was very special and then in 2001 for the U.S. U-17’s I started in 11 of the 12 full international matches, getting two goals and seven assists.”

It will be interesting to see if Quaranta can make it into the starting lineup for United as they head into the second half of the season. Right now they have a commanding 20-point lead over New England.

Pro soccer coming to town?

We should know this week if D.C. United will make a trip to Baltimore to face Real Madrid in a “friendly” that would be played at Oriole Park at Camden Yard.

The date the two teams are hoping for is Aug. 9 as both parties continue to work through the details.

United thought that it would be a great chance to market the team in Baltimore and so after meeting with The Camden Yards Sports and Entertainment Commission, part of the Maryland Stadium Authority, it was decided that IF and that is a huge IF they could workout the details then the two soccer powerhouses would play the game at Camden Yards.

Real Madrid features world-class superstars Ronaldo, of Brazil, David Beckham, of England, and Zinedine Zidane, of France, who was the story of the 2006 World Cup.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. You can e-mail Jim at

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