Soccer team preps for 2010 Special Olympics

The Nebraska Special Olympics soccer team is gearing up for the big games.

Caleb Crippen practiced with his team Tuesday night.  They're about to have their big shot when they take the field at the 2010 National Special Olympic Games.  He says he's a little nervous about what's coming up.  “I've never done anything like this before.  It's a tremendous event and an opportunity the city has to do this.”

Caleb's been involved with special athletics since elementary school, when he and his parents first started learning about Asperger's Syndrome.  He describes it as a form of autism, but defines himself as an athlete, hard worker and an aspiring videographer.  He says he's looking forward to meeting all kinds of people when the games bring nearly 3,000 people to the Capital City.  “There really are all kinds of disabilities represented at the Special Olympics. “

Assistant Coach Joe Pleskac has a brother on the team and says it's about bigger goals than the ones they put in the net.  “I've known them forever, so really it's not even coaching, it's like hanging out with my friends.  It's not only soccer, it's helping them with life skills, listening, following directions.  It's really rewarding.”

Caleb agrees.  “It's been a privilege to work with these guys.”

The games kick off Sunday the 18th with opening ceremonies at the Devaney Center.