GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A former soccer player at East Kentwood will get the opportunity of a lifetime this summer.

She is already played in front of international fans and she will do it again in July this time in the biggest event in the soccer world.

“It’s 100 percent a dream come true,” Riley Tanner said.

Tanner will play in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Earlier this month, she signed with the National Women’s Soccer League team — the Washington Spirit.

The team won its first game of the season against Seattle’s OL Reign on Sunday afternoon. She can’t wait to make her debut. Her path as a soccer player started when she was around 4 years old.

“During that time I just loved soccer and it was all I did,” Tanner said. “We had soccer goals in our backyard and I just always wanted to play.”

Even at that early age her former high school coach John Conlon saw her passion and skill for the game. His wife coached Tanner on youth travel club teams. He coached her while she played in high school.

“She was playing with 8 and 9 year old’s at 6 years old which is pretty extraordinary. She was like a sponge,” Conlon said. “She went from being a timid freshman to who obviously was very talented to being a star as the season went on she became one of the most dangerous players in the state even as a freshman.”

Tanner committed to playing collegiately when she was just a sophomore.

When she graduated she went to the University of South Carolina for three years. In 2019, she became the first Gamecock to score in three straight NCAA tournament matches.

She was also a standout player when she transferred to the University of Alabama.

Riley Tanner pictured holding the flag of Panama after a game.

“Riley is special because she put in a ton of work on her own,” Conlon said.

Earlier this year, she played for the Panama National Team. Her goal off the bench during a game is what helped advance the team to the women’s World Cup.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Tanner said. “If you told little Riley that this where she would be… it’s exciting.”

Conlon says the left footer’s game is electric and deceptive. It was no surprise that she’d reach her goal.

“I knew she’d be a pro,” he said.

Tanner and the Panama National Team will make their World Cup debut on July 24 against Brazil. In the meantime, you can catch her playing for the NWSL. The Spirit’s next game is on April 1.