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Marquette Men’s Soccer: Ciesiulka thrives on field, academically and in service

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Junior midfielder Bryan Ciesiulka is organizing an event to feed hungry children. A fundraiser will be held at the Marquette-Wisconsin game Saturday. Tribune File Photo

There aren’t many student-athletes who are as active and successful both on and off the field as Bryan Ciesiulka.

The junior midfielder was named a All-Big East second team player for his performances this past season when he scored five goals and dished out nine assists during the team’s 16-4-1 season. He was also named a Capital One Academic All-America second team member on Nov. 28.

In addition, Ciesiulka is organizing an event on Jan. 20 in conjunction with Feed My Starving Children, a non-profit organization with locations in Arizona, Illinois and Minnesota.

A native of Naperville, Ill., Ciesiulka volunteered while at home and he saw the possibility of bringing it to Marquette.

“He’s the type of kid who has an idea, and he wants to run with it,” assistant coach Steve Bode said. “You love to help a guy like that because you know where his heart is, and you know what his intentions are.”

After meeting with volleyball player Rachel Stier, the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Ciesiulka started spreading awareness throughout the athletic department and Marquette as a whole.

“He was already planning on doing this fundraiser, so everyone decided it’d be a good idea to make it our yearly fundraiser and to help it out,” Stier said.

The program’s goal is to raise $22,000 and get 500 volunteers to help send 100,000 meals overseas to those who need them in January. Stier said they are just over halfway to their goal, and are hoping to get much more this weekend.

On Saturday during the men’s basketball game against Wisconsin at the Bradley Center, there will be a 50-50 raffle to help support the cause. Half of the proceeds will go to a lucky fan and the rest toward helping the cause.

“We’re splitting the money, and the Bradley Center holds 20,000 people, a dollar a ticket,” Ciesiulka said. “We hope that through it we’ll be able to raise a lot of money, pay for a lot of meals and also hopefully get a lot of volunteers through it.”

“It’s our last big bang here on campus as a whole athletic department together,” Stier said. “We’re hoping the basketball game will be a big push to getting us to our goal.”

Ciesiulka was organizing this event during his team’s season, as well. Through his play on the field and work in the classroom, no one could say he was distracted.

When it comes to his academic honors, Ciesiulka was quick to share the credit with the academic staff in the athletic department whom he thinks make it difficult not to thrive academically.

“It’s a shout-out to all the academic support we have,” Ciesiulka said. “Maureen Lewis has been great throughout my whole three years. Everyone in the whole academic staff has been great. They make it easy, and they find ways to help you be successful.”

Bode thinks Ciesiulka is a person who will later be regarded as one of the greats both on and off the field.

“Ten, 15 years down the road when Marquette soccer is hopefully continuing to thrive off the foundation that’s being set right now, he’s hopefully a guy that people look back and say, ‘That’s not only one of the best players who’s played at Marquette, but one of the best people, best students, and full-package kids.’”

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