In one of the most revealing interviews ever with a Major League Soccer player, D.C. United midfielder Santino Quaranta told Steven Goff the story of his five-year addiction to pain-killers and
alcohol, and how it threatened both his career and his life.
Quaranta was the youngest player ever in MLS when he made his debut for United as a 16-year-old striker in 2001, but
despite the promise that earned him a total of 11 senior U.S. caps, he suffered numerous injuries and dips in form over the following years. The pain-killers he received for those injuries coupled
with a late-night lifestyle lead to addiction, lack of fitness, repeat injuries, and a depression that finally caused him to call the league office last October and beg for help.
"He tested positive for cocaine in 2006, but because he was a first-time offender, MLS did not suspend him and the results were not made public," writes Goff. "In the following 18 months, however,
his addiction grew progressively worse, culminating with a three-month stay at a treatment facility in Malibu, Calif., last winter." Quaranta called himself "a one-dimensional alcoholic and addict.
When I tell you nothing else mattered in my life, I am not lying. To know there was a way out was a blessing."
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