Student-Athlete Spotlight: Mary Raymond

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Samford Athletics is continuing the Student-Athlete Spotlight series, presented by Coca-Cola, which, this week, will highlight May Raymond, a junior midfielder on the soccer team.
Raymond came to Samford from Palm Harbor, Florida. She talked a little about what brought her to Samford.
“The first time I actually came here was in middle school, I came here with my team because we were playing a local club and I absolutely loved it,” Raymond said. “Then I came back my sophomore year of high school and it checked all the boxes. It’s a great location. Just the atmosphere here, talking to the players, they give you the real deal about this school and they were all just so positive about it. I loved the coaches. The Christian environment is really, really important to me. A lot of schools, it was something I could do, but it wasn’t intertwined with soccer. So, that’s a really important thing about Samford.”
Last weekend, the Bulldogs cliched their eighth-straight Southern Conference regular season championship. Raymond said she never thought she would be a part of a program that has this much consistent success.
“It honestly hasn’t sunk in, it’s crazy just hearing it out load,” Raymond said. “I didn’t really know. I knew that Samford was a strong school, but I wasn’t sure I would be a part of something so big. I think it’s just an accumulation of all the hard work of so many people. People that are off being doctors and stuff, but it’s their hard work as well.”
The Bulldogs are ranked 50th in this week’s RPI rankings, putting them in the conversation for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, should they not win the SoCon Tournament. Raymond said the players try not to think about those things and just concentrate on the game in front of them.
“It’s definitely a balance, Coach has brought it up a couple of times in the last week or so,” Raymond said. “We’re not sure if we’d ever get an at-large bid, so we definitely still want to win the tournament. But, seeding in the NCAA Tournament is really important, so getting up there should be important for who you’re going to play in the rounds, and I think we have a good enough team to make it far into the NCAA Tournament. We also do focus, just game-by-game.”
This season has been kind of a break-out year for Raymond. She leads the team in shots on goal (21) and is tied for second on the team in goals scored (5). Raymond credited her coaches and teammates for helping her achieve the success she has this season.
“I think this year has just come with a lot of growth and a lot of confidence,” Raymond said. “And that’s thanks to the coaches, helping me though that, and my teammates. Of course none of my goals have been me dribbling down the field by myself. Great assists by Audrey (Kleiman), Alyssa (Frazier) and Taylor (Yount) just to name a few. I think the success I’ve been able to have is a reflection of the whole group.”
Raymond said this year’s team is extremely close. She talked a little about the bond the ladies share.
“You always hear family thrown out there, but it’s really true at Samford,” Raymond said. “I spend every single second with these girls. I have class with them, eat lunch with them, go to soccer, and still on off days all I want to do is hang out with them. I definitely think that reflects on the field. I think that’s why the assists and the goals are spread out across so many people on the team because we want what’s best for each person. We’re willing to make that extra pass and not be selfish because we want what’s best for them.”
Samford head coach Todd Yelton is in his 20th season in charge of the team and has built the program into a consistent winner. Raymond talked about what Yelton has meant to the program.
“I think what comes to mind first is he’s great at recruiting talent, but also just amazing people,” Raymond said. “Every single person I play with here is just an incredible human being, and I think that really helps. But, he cares about us as people not just as soccer players. He wants us to develop on the field, of course and we continue to get better every year, but he cares about us as human beings, he cares about how we’re doing in school, how our family is, how we’re doing in every-day life. Playing somewhere where you know you’re loved and cared about really helps our success.”
Raymond and the Bulldogs will wrap up the regular season by hosting Chattanooga Sunday at 1 p.m. at Shauna Yelton Field at The Samford Soccer and Track Stadium. The game is the program’s annual Shauna’s House Night, raising money to build houses for orphans in Thailand.
For the latest news and information on Samford volleyball, visit the official website for Samford Athletics at Fans can also follow the Bulldogs on social media at @SamfordSports (Facebook), @SamfordVB (Instagram) and @SamfordVB (Twitter).

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