Player of the Week

Player of the Week: Jeremy Rafanello

When the week ended, the Union were sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference. They went north of the border and beat Toronto FC at BMO Field for the first time since 2014.

So you’d expect one of the Boys in Blue to be PSP’s Player of the Week.

Well, you’re kind of right. That honor goes to a graduate of Philadelphia’s YSC Academy, Jeremy Rafanello.

Rafanello helped Reading United advance to the second round of the U.S. Open Cup for the eight consecutive year last Wednesday. The Delran native (move over Carli Lloyd) scored both goals in the 2-1 win over fellow local club Philadelphia Lone Star.

Those goals came just two minutes apart.

The first came in the 18th minute, and it was a rocket passed Lone Star goalkeeper Vinny Tasca.

“I pretty much had the ball at midfield, and I passed it off to Felipe [Hideki],” Rafanello told Brotherly Game’s Matt Ralph. “He dribbled through and got a little touch, and the Lone Star guy got a little touch. It came off to me, and I decided to hit it one time. It felt good.”

Rafanello’s second would at the penalty spot after Hideki was fouled in the box. Rafanello stepped up and coolly slotted the ball into the back of the net.

Rafanello was part the Union’s academy squad that went 21-2-3 during the 2017-18 season and was the No. 4 goal scorer in the U.S.  Soccer Development Academy. He was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in 2018 while playing Penn State University.

The 19-year-old is playing for USL League Two side Reading United in between collegiate seasons. Unfortunately, the club’s cup run ended last night after a 3-0 road loss to back-to-back USL champions Louisville City FC.

Our Player of the Week wasn’t the only YSC graduate playing for Reading. University of Kentucky’s Kalil ElMedkhar and University of Louisville’s Lamine Conte joined Rafanello in the U.S. Open Cup run.

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