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The Defense May Rest, but the Midfielder Doesn’t
General  . 

The Defense May Rest, but the Midfielder Doesn’t

by Brad Muller, Director of Content

Time management is nothing new for Claire Griffiths, but South Carolina’s fifth-year senior midfielder is taking it to a new level by juggling all the commitments of playing soccer in the SEC and going to law school.

“I’m looking into child advocacy,” Griffiths said. “I have a passion for working with children and underserved populations. I feel like there is a growing field for that.

“I’m actually in a dual-program to get my master’s in social work and my juris doctorate. I’m taking five classes, which is similar to undergrad, but the workload is considerably higher. You have to make sure you’re staying up to date with all your reading. I’m usually reading around 30 or 40 pages per night for each class.  So, you have to prepare about two hours for each class.”

The North Carolina native attended Florida State as a freshman before transferring and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll in her three previous years at South Carolina. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology last May and decided she wasn’t done learning or playing soccer.

“I’ve always had a knack for working with people and wanting to help people,” Griffiths said of her desire to be a lawyer. “It felt like the right decision for me. In undergrad, I started out as a social work major, and I fell in love with social policy and trying to make the world a better place for other people. I decided to pursue law in order to enact more change. I thought that was the best way to get to where I wanted to be.”

Keeping up with her heavy course load in addition to her busy soccer schedule with practices, workouts, travel, and matches has been a challenge.

“I miss a lot of training, but the coaches have been incredible in working with me,” Griffiths said. “We’ve moved training, and sometimes we have to go out there at 7:30 in the morning. I feel so sorry for my teammates, but it was the only way I could get on the field. It’s hard to get my training in, making sure I’m getting all the work done to be ready for game day, and getting all my reading for my classes done. I actually do pretty well in getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night.

“Everyone with soccer and the people at the law school have been really good at making sure we’re taking care of ourselves. You can’t perform your best on the field or in the classroom when you’re tired. So, I make sure I’m eating enough and sleeping enough.”

“I don’t know what the future holds, but I want to make a difference in other people’s lives.”

The first year of law school is considered by many to be the most difficult, and Griffiths said that playing soccer is a good outlet for relieving stress.
Claire Griffiths
“A lot of people struggle to find time to take care of their wellness,” Griffiths said. “Having soccer in my life gives me such an outlet. I love playing soccer. I forget about everything when I’m on the field and have fun. I did think about not playing soccer this year because I was worried about missing too many trainings and not being able to do all the work while traveling. Everyone has worked with me at the law school and in Athletics to make sure I’m being successful at both. I truly could not have done it without the support network that I have. I am so grateful that I have soccer in my life.

“There’s a higher demand in terms of workload for law school, so you have to hold yourself accountable to doing all the reading. There is stress in making sure you’re prepared for things like ‘cold calls.’ That’s when you’re in class and a professor says, ‘Counselor Griffiths, can you walk me through this case?’ You have to learn to think on your feet like a lawyer in a courtroom would. You have to develop the traits and characteristics of what makes a successful lawyer. The whole first year, you’re learning to do things in a different way than you would in a traditional classroom.”

While in law school, Griffiths has also found some new Gamecocks Soccer fans.

“A lot of my classmates and professors come out to the games,” Griffiths said. “They keep referring to my little support section as ‘counselor’s corner.’ It’s so cute! I’ve gotten to know some of my professors that come to my games, and we have a little back and forth about it. One of my professors has a daughter who is seven and plays soccer, and I’ve gone out to a couple of her games to cheer her on. It’s been such a wonderful experience!”

While she has a pair of sisters who played collegiate soccer elsewhere, including her twin sister, she is the first in her immediate family to get into the law profession.

“I’m the first to jump into the deep end with that. I’ve received so much support. I would not trade this experience for the world. I don’t know what the future holds, but I want to make a difference in other people’s lives.”