The Santino Quaranta story continues - and apparently, Quaranta helped Steven Goff scoop Ridge Mahoney.
DC United and MLS have received way, way too little criticism about this. Sign teenagers, sign teenage problems. Maybe the league's outreach programs are like the CIA - we never hear about the successes, only the failures. I'm fine with that, but with Quaranta telling about how he was out of his gourd on pills years before DC United claimed to first realize there was a problem...well, that doesn't sound good. We can thank our lucky stars that the only illicit substance connected with Freddy Adu was whatever was in that red plastic cup. It's doubly disturbing seeing as how DC United enjoyed a reputation as the best place for potential young stars. Bobby Convey, Chris Albright, Adu...if DC United was a desirable destination, I'd hate to hear stories from the teams that weren't.
As far as Quaranta, the real screwups here were the Galaxy. Goff quoted Alexi Lalas as saying this:
I suppose I could call up the Galaxy and asked who was fired over this, assuming anyone was. I don't want to start a witch hunt. But as far as fans were concerned, they were simply taking a chance on a player who still had upside, not effectively volunteering to sponsor a man's rehab.
Ultimately, it was Quaranta's fault, fine. But the Galaxy volunteered to provide "the appropriate leadership and right environment." When even full-time medical professionals have a troublingly low success rate with addicts who admit they have a problem, the Galaxy thinking they had the personnel to guide someone who had not even made it to Step One was hubris on a mind-boggling scale.
With every team in the league dealing with young players, this absolutely has to be a wakeup call in how to deal with the issues young players bring. Other sports in America have these sports on an epidemic scale, but other sports have college as a development mechanism, and don't usually get these players until well into legal adulthood. MLS won't get a pass on this. Quaranta's cautionary tale isn't just for players, not by a long shot.