by KELLY GUSICH | photos by Soul of Photography

Ray of Light

When Sam Ray was young, his father encouraged him to play all sports, and “even though I was the worst player on my team my first year,” he laughed, “I thought being a football player was so cool. I have been playing football since I was seven years old, and I have always loved to hit.” Now a senior at Santa Fe Christian High School in Solana Beach, his love for the sport has served him in good stead. Sam earned a spot as first team Coastal League defensive lineman his junior year, and as first team Coastal League linebacker his senior year. His 3.6 GPA put him on the Union-Tribune All-Academic team as a junior, and as the team’s hardest hitter he also received the “Captain Crunch” Award.

Sam is not all football all the time, though. His dad used to take him to the beach to boogie board, which eventually morphed into surfing, which has turned into one of his most frequent activities. He loves to hike and explore the amazing San Diego trails and topography. “I also like to cook,” he shared, “which my mom influenced as she was always teaching me how to cook my favorite foods and treats ever since I was little.” He loves his AP Stats class, “because it applies to everything in the world,” and is tremendously inspired and influenced by Mr. Lyons, his senior Bible teacher, because “He is extremely personable and a funny, likable human being, and is the most respected person in my life.”

Football at the D3 level is a goal for Sam, where he hopes to go to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, and study anthropology and sociology.

Inspiration for Sam comes from many outlets. The people who inspire him the most are his parents and his linebacker coach, Russell Allen. “My dad has always taught me how to be a sensible man of good character, and my mom taught me how to be loving and compassionate,” he told us. “Coach Allen inspires me with his wisdom about football (being an ex-NFL player for the Jacksonville Jaguars) and about life. He is one of the friendliest, nicest people I’ve ever met.”

Football at the D3 level is a goal for Sam, where he hopes to go to the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA, and study anthropology and sociology. His advice to people looking to play? “Football is an amazing sport and a lot of fun, but more importantly, the virtues of discipline, hard work, and brotherhood are extremely valuable, and football encompasses those.”’

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AT-A-GLANCE

Name: Samuel Lee Ray IV (18)
School: Santa Fe Christian High School
Grade: 12
Parents: Sam and Angela Ray
Siblings: Brandon Ray (15) and Jordan Ray (23)
Favorite Spots in Del Mar/Solana Beach: Dog Beach, Seascape, Station Sushi, Board & Brew