2015 VSN BOYS SOCCER COACH OF THE YEAR
Brandon Quaranta, McDonogh School
When he graduated from Hofstra University in 2004, Brandon Quaranta was planning to become a lawyer. On his way to law school, however, he took what was supposed to be a short detour into coaching and 11 years later he is still at it. In fact, Quaranta has climbed to the helm of two nationally renowned soccer programs – Baltimore Celtic, on the club level, and the boys varsity team at McDonogh School.
With three national championships to his credit with Baltimore Celtic, Quartanta became the varsity head coach at McDonogh in 2014 after serving as an assistant for seven years, with the Eagles, to current Loyola University of Maryland head coach Steve Nichols. In his two seasons as head coach at McDonogh, Quaranta has won 40 games against just a single loss and one tie. The loss, in the 2014 MIAA A Conference championship game, spoiled an undefeated season and a No. 1 national ranking, but McDonogh reponded with a 21-0-1 record in 2015, including a victory in the MIAA title game over Archbishop Curley, earning Quaranta recognition as the 2015 VSN Boys Soccer Coach of the Year.
“This season was special because our senior class was special. Typically in the MIAA the team with the best senior leadership wins and I believe that was the case this year,” said Quaranta. “I have coached several of our seniors through club soccer since they were 12 years old and they are consummate winners both on and off the field. They will go on to have successful soccer careers at the next level, but more importantly they will go on to be successful people because of their winning mentality.”
Quaranta played in the MIAA at Archbishop Curley, winning a championship in 2000 under the late Pep Perella. He spent three years at UMBC before transferring to Hofstra for his senior year, helping lead the Pride to the 2004 Colonial Athletic Conference championship. With Baltimore Celtic, where he serves as Director of Coaching, Quaranta won USYSA national championships in 2010, 2014 and 2015.
Not many coaches can point to one of their assistants as being one of their biggest influences, but when that coach also is your dad, the equation makes sense.
“My father Jack Quaranta, who won a national championship at Loyola College as a player and has been a coaching staple in local soccer for over 35 years, is one of my primary coaching influences,” said Quaranta. “He instilled a passion for the game in me as a child and fostered that passion both on and off the field as my father and coach. He demonstrated to me the importance of developing genuine relationships with my players. I firmly believe that players reflect their coach’s personality and will simply train and compete harder if they know that coach cares for them as people.”
When he needed a mentoring voice outside of his own family tree, Quaranta turned to Nichols.
“Steve showed belief in me as a very young coach, who was trying to find my way in the profession. He gave me the opportunity to work with him, learn the craft, and ultimately prove myself on my own,” said Quaranta. “Steve is one of the most natural motivators I have ever seen, and is able to get the best out of his players consistently. It’s no coincidence he is one of most successful youth soccer coaches in this country’s history.”
There are some things, however, your mentors just cannot help you manage.
Just prior to the start of fall camp, Quaranta learned that one of his top returning players, forward Nic Brown, would skip his senior season to play Academy soccer. Then, two days before the MIAA semifinals, Quaranta’s leading scorer Tunde Akinlosotu withdrew from school for undisclosed reasons.
“When I look back at this season 25 years from now I will remember the adversity our team went through starting in preseason and going all the way through the final whistle in the championship game,” explained Quaranta. “There was more than one occasion where our team could have made excuses or felt sorry for ourselves and our leaders would not allow that to happen. There are many ups and downs in the course of a season and how you decide to deal with those moments will determine the outcome of your year. I could not be more proud of the way our players dealt with the challenging moments.”