Marquette University soccer player headed to World Cup qualifiers with Philippines

MILWAUKEE -- Marquette University soccer player, Riley Bugay, is spending the last few months of the college semester traveling the globe as she heads to World Cup qualifiers with the Philippines women's soccer team. 

“I wasn’t surprised at all," Sophomore Maddy Henry said. "She’s the hardest worker I know, and she deserves this more than anybody I know."

“It was super awesome that she was able to have this opportunity to show what she can do," Freshman Kylie Sprecher chimed in.  

Henry and Sprecher are both referring to their teammate and role model, Ryley Bugay. Bugay is currently in Japan training and competing with the Philippines women’s national team as the squad attempts to qualify for the 2019 FIFA women’s world cup in France. 

“It’s incredible," Bugay exclaimed. "It’s a little overwhelming [because] it happened so quickly. It’s a big honor."

Bugay played a team-high of more than 1,800 minutes in 2017 for the Golden Eagles while starting all 21 matches as a holding midfielder. That's why after such an incredible season, she was invited to the national team’s initial identification camp in California. 

“They reached out in November," Bugay said. "We had an initial tryout in California. After about a week [I] got a call back saying I was officially invited to the team."

Following the friendlies in Japan, the team will make the trek to the Philippines for more friendlies prior to World Cup qualifiers in Jordan. And while Bugay and her new teamwork to qualify for the World Cup, her Marquette family is excitedly cheering her on right here from home.

“I couldn’t be more proud," Markus Roeders said. "As a coach.… you’re a coach, but you’re also a little bit like a father figure to them. I get to live through them a little bit. I’m their biggest cheerleader."

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