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Union U19 leading scorer commits to Penn State

Jeremy Rafanello previously verbally committed to Drexel

Matt Ralph

The Philadelphia Union U19 team’s leading scorer will be the first in the academy to follow former head coach Jeff Cook to Penn State.

Delran, N.J. native Jeremy Rafanello announced on National Signing Day Wednesday that he will play college soccer at Penn State University this fall.

“I chose Penn State because the campus is beautiful and I felt at home,” Rafanello said. “I can’t wait to be a part of Jeff Cook’s new program.”

Rafanello joined the Philadelphia Union Academy from nearby Continental FC last fall after leading Continental in goals with 20 in 2016-17. He leads the U19 team this season with 16 goals in 14 games and recently earned his first United States youth international call-up for the Youth Summit in Florida. He played a season of high school soccer with South Jersey power Delran High School leaving the program to play full-time in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.

Penn State’s gain is also a loss for another Pennsvlvania college program since Rafanello initially verbally committed to Drexel University during his junior year of high school in December 2016.

Cook, the Union U19 head coach and a Bethlehem Steel FC assistant, was announced as the new Penn State head coach in early January. He succeeded long-time college coach Bob Warming, who announced his retirement at the end of the fall season.