Rafael Eli specialized in Hispanic marketing and international soccer events in the metropolitan area. (Photo courtesy of Schramm Marketing)

Rafael Eli, the COO and a partner at Schramm Marketing in New York City, has passed away due to Coronavirus pneumonia.

He was 68.

Eli contracted COVID-19 in mid-March and had been under the care at Mt. Sinai Hospital in the city for the past 18 days.

He was well known in the sports community as a specialist in the areas of Hispanic marketing, sponsorship sales and the promotion of international soccer. He would often gleefully mention his role in promoting sold-out international soccer events featuring world-class teams at Giants Stadium, MetLife Stadium and Citi Field.

Eli, who worked at the company for 30 years, also played an influential role in helping AT&T secure its long-running sponsorship of Major League Soccer.

“He was especially excited to make a bilingual speech at the league’s launch event in New York City,” managing parnter Joe Schramm said.

He is survived by a sister Myriam Eli, a brother-in-law Joe Zeytoonian of Margate, Florida as well as many relatives in his native Cuba, Florida, New York, Israel and Spain. Rafael is also an “official” member of both sides of my own Schramm-Bruce family.

Condolences may be sent to his sister Myriam Eli at 3210 Holiday Springs Blvd. #307, Margate FL 33603 or email at [email protected] and to Joe Schramm at his home 222 Ocean Ave., Northport, NY 11768 or by email to [email protected]

Contributions may be made in his name to Matchingdonors.com or to the New York Chapter of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) at [email protected] or 212.891.1443.

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Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.