In his first season with New York Red Bulls II, midfielder Jeremy Rafanello has made a major impact.
His goal against the Charleston Battery on September 22 brought his season total to five to go along with a team-high six assists. As a result, he has had a hand in 36 percent of the team’s goals so far in 2021.
“It’s more the fact that my teammates allow it to happen,” Rafanello said. “They’re able to get me the ball and I’m able to get them the ball. I can’t do it without any of the teammates on the field because that ball doesn’t come through the front, come all the way through the back, or to the front without them.”
Part of Rafanello’s success has come with his ability to strike from long distance. That was on display when the team took on Sacramento Republic FC in late July, as he took a pass from midfielder Kyle Zajec and scored from well outside the box.
“Part of it is why we brought him in, which was that he has a really good right foot,” NYRB II Head Coach John Wolyniec said. “He strikes the ball really well, and he can combine that with an ability to play a final pass, I think that’s why the goals and the assists are there. “
The Delran, New Jersey, native returned home after playing his first USL Championship season with Indy Eleven in 2020. He made four starts in nine appearances and scored a goal against Sporting Kansas City II.
In matches that he has scored this season, NYRB II is 3-1-0, with the team scoring three goals in all but one of those matches.
“Since getting here I think we’ve helped him to put himself in more dangerous spots and more consistently being good at areas of the field,” Wolyniec said, “so he can take those weapons and abilities that he’s had and start to get more bang for his buck.”
Rafanello, along with his teammates, will look to build off some strong performances in September as the 2021 season begins to wind down.
“Everyone is collectively in, even if they aren’t close to the play,” Rafanello said. “I feel like everyone is accounting for goals.”