ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Each time Andrew Quintana steps onto the soccer field, the senior defender makes sure that he provides the UCF coaching staff with his best effort. The Miami native sees his play on the field, as well as his leadership role, as a way to payback head coach Bryan Cunningham for believing in him when other programs did not.
Despite stints on the United States U-18 and U-17 National Teams, Quintana was under-recruited coming out of high school. The lack of interest probably came from his stature. Quintana, who stands around 5-foot-7, is a central defender, and most players at the position are at least 6-foot tall.
Cunningham believed that Quintana could excel with the Knights, and his prediction came true. Quintana has started every match during his career, and has led the Knights to the second round of the NCAA Championship in each of the last two years. He credits his success to the coaching staff for having faith in him when others did not.
"Knowing how much the coaches believe in me, I try to put in as much work as I can so I can fulfill their expectations," Quintana said. "Whatever goals they want to accomplish, I am going to be right there with them."
Just an average student when he arrived at UCF, Quintana is exceling in the classroom as well. He is set to graduate in the spring with a degree in communication sciences and disorders - just another way he is paying back his coaches and UCF for the opportunity to be a student-athlete.
This story appears in the September issue of Knights Insider magazine. The publication, which is published six times per year, provides an inside look at UCF student-athletes, coaches and alums. To order the magazine, click here.