CHARLESTON, S.C. - The College of Charleston women's soccer team added a new member in Claire Newman, a center defender from Greensboro, N.C., who graduated high school early to join and train with the team a semester ahead of schedule.
"Claire is a versatile player who can play anywhere along the back line and will challenge our returning players straight away for playing time," said head coach Christian Michner. "We are excited to have her a bit earlier than is typical as she graduated early from high school to join us this spring.
"She played for one of the top youth teams in North Carolina and that experience will help her as she transitions to the college game and the speed at which our team plays. She has some wonderful qualities and we know she'll represent our program well on and off the field."
Newman started practicing with the Cougars and enrolled in CofC classes in January in order to have a clearer understanding of how to prepare for collegiate soccer this summer and fall.
"I wanted to be able to train with my new team and have a better idea of what is going to be expected of me," said Newman. "The team has been great and very accepting of me. They've showed me what's expected and how I can become a prominent member of the team."
The standout student was able to make the transition early by taking five Advanced Placement classes online in three months to graduate early from Walter Hines Page High School. Though the transition has been rigorous, Newman is adjusting well and doesn't regret her decision.
"At first it was a lot to handle but I've got a lot of really great people helping me," said Newman. "On the field, the first practices were tough in adjusting to the speed of play. I'm starting to get used to it now and am definitely improving because of it.
Off the field, I feel I've been doing well in my classes. They are definitely more challenging than high school but I spend a lot of free time studying and feel good about my classes."
As a high school student-athlete, Newman was a Metro 4A all-conference and all-region selection all three years she was on the team. She served as a team captain and led teams to the 2011-12 NC State Cup championship, the USYS Regionals, the 2011 Adidas Labor Day Shootout Finals, the 2011 Jefferson Cup Showcase semifinals, the 2010 Disney Soccer Showcase championship and the 2010 CASL College Showcase championship.