| March 22, 2018

Soccer: Leading By Example

May 5, 2016

Senior forward Reagan Quigley has embraced a number of different roles for the Idaho women’s soccer team.

The senior is a mentally aggressive soccer player on the field and a cheerleader from the sidelines.

“She was tremendous on the bench for us, keeping the other people on the bench focused,” Idaho women’s soccer coach Derek Pittman said. “(They) labeled themselves as the bench mob because they’d get so excited when our team would score. They were extremely supportive of the players on the field.”

Off the pitch, Quigley’s teammates know her best as Chris Brown — dance party leader and screamo queen.

“Before every game her and Kavita (Battan) would do a Chris Brown duet in the locker room,” junior Clara Gomez said. “She would be Chris Brown and get her voice really low and Kavita would run at Reagan and Reagan would pick her up in the air.”

Teammates said the duo performed this before every game last year.

Gomez said Quigley is also known to add screamo-style vocals to songs that are not a part of the genre.

“She’d get a good laugh out of everyone,” Gomez said. “She was good at it, she had a good voice.”

Pittman said that Quigly commits to her role, whatever it may be.

“Leading the best way she knew how, by example, by being extremely positive with the young players,” he said. “She garnered a lot of respect from younger players because they wanted to be like her. They wanted to mimic her work ethic, they wanted to mimic her passion for the game.”

Pittman said he also valued her perspective as the lone senior on the team.

“She wanted to do whatever she could possibly do to help our program be successful,” he said. “If that meant coming off the bench and playing over half the game — great. If that meant she only played five minutes — fine.”

Quigley hasn’t limited herself to soccer and locker room concerts. After graduating with an operations management and information systems degree, Quigley will be part of the procurement team at Boeing.

There are over six million parts on a Boeing 747 jet plane, including 171 miles of wiring and five miles of tubing. Quigley said her job will be to purchase some of the wires and switches for planes through negotiations and contract writing.

Quigley also serves as the president of the Idaho Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), an organization for student-athletes.

The executive board and two representatives from each sport meet monthly to discuss the student-athlete experience at the university. Discussion topics often include NCAA rules, community service opportunities and events.

“She truly bleeds for Idaho,” Pittman said. “As we say, bleeds silver and gold. She is extremely dedicated to this program and the athletic department. Also giving back to others, she’s always been willing to jump out and do more for the student-athletes.”

Quigley said knew she wanted to play college soccer at the age of 11.

“I was watching the NCAA championship game on TV,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to do that. I want to be on TV and play well like these girls.’”

Quigley said her club soccer coach was the first person to invest in her career.

“She told me, ‘We can get you there, we can make this dream a reality,’” Quigley said.

Quigley said she did not socialize as much as other high school students because of her rigorous tournament schedule.

“It was okay because you’re with your team,” she said. “I wouldn’t take it back for anything.”

Quigley said her coaches were key in helping the high school recruit find a path to Idaho. She said she wanted to stay close to her Northwest home of Woodinville, Washington, and study at a business school.

“One of them always told me, ‘No matter what anyone says you’re going to go play college soccer, we’ll get you there,’” Quigley said. “My assistant coach went to Idaho and played here. She knew the coach who recruited me and it all fell into a series of events. Our business college is great and it worked out really well.”

Quigley said the pursuit of soccer helped to prepare her for the reality of hunting for jobs upon graduation.

“You try to put your best game on and practice so hard and train up and get ready for it,” she said. “And then try to impress as many people as you can so you have as many options as you can. But at the end of the day, you’re still unsure of where you’re going to be.”

Quigley said she knew what steps to take in preparation for the inevitable post-graduation job hunt.

“I’ve got to study, I’ve got get good grades so I can get an internship so I can get a good job,” she said. “It’s funny how those things meshed together.”

Quigley said one her favorite memories of her soccer career included a prank during a road trip to Montana.

“We were doing our pool workout so we could get our muscles stretched out after the game,” Quigley said. “Somebody had the idea to push Derek in the pool. So somebody grabbed him and we took all of his phones and his keys out of his pockets and he’s like, ‘Oh no, what’s going on?’ And the rest of us swarmed around him and drug him into the pool.”

Pittman said he has appreciated Quigley’s support of the program from the start.

“She was one of the first players to really believe in me as her head coach,” he said. “She bought it from day one and helped bring the rest of the group along. She’s been a huge influence on the turnaround of the program.”

Quigley said she was unsure of what to expect when the program signed a new coach.

“We got to see all the coaches come in and interview them a bit,” she said. “Derek was definitely the hardest one of all. He had a set plan and was so set in his ways.”

Quigley said her teammates thought he wanted to change too many things about the program. Pittman said he asked the girls to trust him and his vision for the team. The team responded by posting an unbeaten run through the conference season to win the Big Sky regular season title.

Quigley said Pittman’s presence and investment with the program was one of the biggest blessings for the college.

“It taught me a lot about trust and change,” she said. “I don’t think you get that experience very often in your life. I’m glad I trusted Derek and everybody else, too.”

Pittman said Quigley has connected not only with him, but with his family as well. He said his daughter has grown fond of the senior.

“(She) gets so excited every time she gets a chance to see (Quigley),” he said. “What’s been cool is when my kids and wife come to the games and see how hard Reagan works every time she’s on the field. My seven-year-old just loves it.”

Pittman said his daughter Emma often marvels at the work ethic of Quigley.

“(Quigley) was never the most skilled, most technical player,” he said. “What she lacked, there she more than made up for in her heart and passion and dedication to this program. For that we will be always and forever thankful.”

Quigley said her senior season proved to be the perfect end of an incredible journey.

“To go undefeated and then win the Big Sky Championship ¾ the whole year everyone was so amped up,” Quigley said. “We were supporting each other and closer than ever had been before. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Tess Fox can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @tesstakesphotos

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