- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Major League Soccer's youngest player also is the league's best player, at least for last week.

D.C. United's Santino Quaranta was named MLS player of the week yesterday after scoring two goals in United's 3-1 victory at the hapless New England Revolution on Saturday.

The 16-year-old from Baltimore is the first United player to be so honored.

"It's an honor to be so young and win the MLS player of the week award," Quaranta said in a prepared statement. "I will keep working hard and hope that I can win it several more times throughout my career. It feels real good to be doing so well in my first year in the league. We have a good team, and I feel very comfortable because I'm surrounded by great players."

Quaranta, the youngest player to score a goal in MLS, struck in the fifth and 94th minutes against the Revolution. Saturday's match marked the second time this season Quaranta has scored two goals in one game.

On June 16 at the defending MLS champion Kansas City Wizards, Quaranta scored twice in United's 3-0 win. Quaranta, a leading candidate for MLS rookie of the year, has five goals in 492 minutes this season third on the team behind Abdul Thompson Conteh (nine goals) and Jaime Moreno (eight).

"The amount of goals he's scored [at] that age clearly shows what he can do," United coach Thomas Rongen said. "He needs to stay levelheaded, and he needs to stay humble."

United's February housecleaning delivered Quaranta. Just days before February's SuperDraft, United president Kevin Payne and Rongen purged the roster of aging veterans. On Feb. 4 United traded All-Star defender Jeff Agoos to the San Jose Earthquakes for Conteh and the Nos. 8 and 10 picks in the SuperDraft.

United chose Quaranta with the eighth pick. United is 3-1-1 in games started by Quaranta.

"Over the years, this organization has proven that it can identify young talent," Rongen said. "It started with Ben Olsen and Bobby Convey. This club's future is on our very young players. In prior years, we easily gambled on young players; now we need players contributing immediately. We felt very strong that Santino could play for us. I think this award is a telling tale what Santino can do."

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