The Menace announced Thursday afternoon on Twitter that the FC Barcelona player will be in Des Moines hosting a camp June 16 and 17, with the midfielder scheduled for an appearance at the Menace’s June 17 game against arch rival Thunder Bay.
Rafinha first made an appearance for the Spanish side’s first team in 2011, starting in the Copa Del Rey. After spending the 2013-14 La Liga season on loan with Celta Vigo, the Brazilian international came back to Barcelona and has appeared in more than 50 games for his club while also earning a pair of caps for his country. Rafinha’s brother, midfielder Thiago Alcântara, currently plays for FC Bayern Munich.
This is not the first time Des Moines has hosted a notable figure as part of its promotional schedule. In 2004, at the height of his American prominence, the Menace received Freddy Adu at a game that set the Premier Development League’s single-game attendance record, with 6,612 fans turning out to see the then 15-year-old Adu.
That same summer, the Menace hosted Mexican squad Monarcas Morelia and Italian side Juventus Primavera. Two summers ago, Des Moines had a promotion in the works with USMNT star Clint Dempsey, but could not get the scheduling done in time before Dempsey left for the World Cup in Brazil.
The addition of Rafinha comes as part of a busy time for the Menace. Earlier this year, Des Moines announced the signing of John Pascarella to lead the Menace, and now he and his staff are in the midst of scouting players for their upcoming 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup campaign and PDL season.