|Full name||Sarah Elizabeth Rafanelli|
|Date of birth||July 6, 1972|
|Place of birth||Santa Clara, California, United States|
|Height||5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22 March 2013
Rafanelli was born in Santa Clara, California to parents, Mark and Pam Rafanelli and is the second of four sisters. She began playing soccer at age eight and played volleyball and tennis at the College Preparatory School in Oakland, joining the school's soccer team late in high school.
Rafanelli attended Stanford University from 1990–1993. During her senior year with the Stanford Cardinal, Rafanelli led the team to an 18–2–2 record and trip to the Final Four. She led Stanford in scoring during three of her four seasons with the team, scoring 59 career goals, providing 34 assists for a total of 152 points – all records at the school. In her four years with the Cardinal, the team went 67–9–4 and advanced to the NCAA Playoffs each season.
Rafanelli earned All-American honors in 1992 and 1993 and set a new scoring record that would stand for 17 years until finally being beaten by Christen Press in 2010. The previous scoring record had been set the preceding year by Rafanelli's teammate, Julie Foudy.
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- Migdol, Gary (1997). Stanford: Home of Champions. Sports Publishing LLC. p. 226.
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