BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Samford Athletics is continuing the Student-Athlete Spotlight series, presented by Coca-Cola, which, this week, will highlight Kyla Reynolds, a junior forward on the soccer team.
Reynolds came to Samford from Rome, Georgia, and Model High School. She talked a little about what brought her to Samford.
“I was 14 and I went to a soccer camp and Samford was there,” Reynolds said. “I was like, Samford sounds cool. I came to camp and then two weeks later I came on a visit, and they offered me, and I thought, this seems right. And when Coach (Yelton) told me about how they play Alabama and Ole Miss in preseason, I thought, so I get to have the small school feel, but still compete with the big schools. And the fact that it would push me academically and spiritually too really just sealed the deal.”
In high school, Reynolds played both soccer and basketball. She said, while she enjoyed basketball, soccer was always her real passion.
“I really did love basketball, but I was not very good at free throws,” Reynolds said. “Soccer was always my passion and basketball was something I just did with my friends in offseason. I feel like it honestly helped me in soccer, making me use other muscles and do other things. It was more for just fun.”
Reynolds also talked about what she is studying at Samford and what she thinks she might like to do after graduating.
“I am a double major in marketing and entrepreneurship with a sales minor,” Reynolds said. “We will see where that takes me. The dream is, you’ll see me on HGTV flipping houses. But, honestly, I’m just kind of going with the flow, because I know God has a plan, so I’ll let you know in 10 years.”
Samford’s pre-conference schedule this season included, Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss and Texas, including a win over the Crimson Tide. Reynolds talked about how playing that tough schedule benefits the team once it reaches conference play.
“Playing at a higher competition level really pushes us, and we were able to keep up with those teams, beat some of those teams,” Reynolds said. “It really pushed this team and made us grow, I feel like, together. It made us work harder and it set us up for conference play. In conference play, we still have a lot left to go and the teams always come in and give their hardest against us. So, I’m really excited for that.”
The Bulldogs opened Southern Conference play with a 3-0 win over VMI last Friday night. Prior to that game, the field at the Samford Soccer and Track Stadium was officially named Shauna Yelton Field, after the late wife of head coach Todd Yelton.
“That was such a special night,” Reynolds said. “I was honestly, so thankful to be there. Before the game we were all just talking in the locker room, we’re playing for something so much bigger than ourselves. This night means so much to Coach, we’re all just praying for him, thankful that Shauna lived to pass this legacy down to us. I wish I could have met her. I just can’t explain it, but the love on the field that night when we were all watching the video, everyone on the team was crying and none of us had met her. She’s the reason Samford soccer is so special.”
The team followed that game up with a 3-0 win over UNCG Sunday afternoon. The game was scoreless at halftime, and Reynolds talked about what changed in the second half to lift the team to the win.
“I think we all knew we could do better,” Reynolds said. “I think we were just being frantic; we were all talking, and we were like, everyone be quiet, Coach is coming in, we’re going to solve this. We had switched formations; they had switched formations and we finally just drew it out on the white board at halftime. And our goal was just to get in behind, and Mary (Raymond) went right in and got in behind and that just started the flow for the second half.”
Reynolds scored a goal in each of the two games last week. She talked a little about how she feels she has been playing lately.
“I definitely could not have done that without my team, because I got really good through balls thrown onto, my favorite kind to score,” Reynolds said. “It was just nice because those goals started at the back and went all the way up to the top, and the team really pushed me. I feel like this is only the beginning. I know we’re halfway through the season, but I still feel like it’s just the beginning, and it was a great start for the rest of the SoCon.”
Reynolds talked about some of her favorite moments from her time at Samford so far.
“I think freshman year, going to the NCAA Tournament was definitely fun,” Reynolds said. “And going upstairs for Selection Day and waiting to see who we got put against, that was very fun. But, honestly, every day, dancing in the locker room before the games, doing The Worm with everybody. We have a lot of songs we do, it’s so fun. Those are the memories I feel like I’m going to look back one day and be like, oh this song reminds me of the locker room.”
The Samford soccer team will be on the road this weekend. The team will play at Mercer Friday at 5 p.m. (CT) and at The Citadel Sunday at 12 p.m. (CT). For links to follow the games, go to the soccer schedule page on the official Samford Athletics website at the following link: SOCCER SCHEDULE PAGE.
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