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Beckford, Rafanello To Leave Penn State Men’s Soccer To Play Professionally In Europe

Forwards Ethan Beckford and Jeremy Rafanello have decided to leave Happy Valley in order to pursue professional contracts overseas, Penn State men’s soccer announced Monday.

Rafanello, a Philadelphia Union academy graduate, has reportedly signed a contract with Danish side FC Helsingør. Beckford’s destination has not been disclosed.

“This summer both Jeremy and Ethan were presented with professional opportunities in Europe that they ultimately decided to accept,” said head coach Jeff Cook in a release. “We thank them for their contributions to the Penn State men’s soccer program and hope that they find success in their soccer careers and that they return one day to complete their degrees.”

The pair’s departure and choice to forgo their eligibility is a major blow to Cook’s offense for the upcoming season. Beckford and Rafanello were essential components to a team that only managed to score 18 goals last season, adding two and three goals, respectively.

Rafanello, who will leave Happy Valley before his sophomore year, lead the Nittany Lions’ attack for the first season of Cook’s tenure. Beckford, a Manchester, England native, has been a dangerous and mercurial winger for the Nittany Lions since his arrival as a freshman in 2017.

Despite a strong 2019 recruiting class, Cook enters the regular season with only four designated forwards on his roster. That list includes redshirt sophomore Josh Dabora and freshman Liam Butts alongside returners Kyle Perno and Christian Sload, who recorded a single goal between them in 2018.

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About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is a junior English and history major and the features editor for Onward State. He, like most of the Penn State undergraduate population, is from 'just outside Philadelphia,' and grew up in Spring City, Pennsylvania. He covers a variety of Penn State topics, but spends nine months of every year waiting for the start of soccer season. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @messijim.

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