BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Hundreds of athletes with intellectual disabilities took part in the annual Special Olympics Soccer Tournament.
Twelve teams from across the state gathered at Husson University to lace up their cleats.
Volunteers from the University sports teams helped referee the games and even competed side-by-side with those with disabilities.
The day has been circled on Mark Capano’s calendar for months.
“Just that opportunity to be with our athletes, I can’t even put that into words,” said the program director.
Despite their challenges, everyone was on the same playing field—something that was not always a possibility.
“The Special Olympics is such a powerful movement that allows athletes to compete on a level not seen in the 60s or 70s,” said Capano.
“It really is just a special day and it makes you warm inside and you really just want to be a part of it,” said the university’s women’s soccer coach, Amanda Cummings.
Years on the soccer field has inspired her to volunteer every year to make a difference.
“I think the biggest thing is the happy people that come together and we get to help have a good time and play a game that we all love,” she said.
A game they all love for many different reasons.
“I just like soccer because it’s good for my legs,” said player, T.J. McCullen. And for the younger viewers, if you keep going to Special Olympics, you might just look like me…with all of my muscles!”
For more information on a special event happening near you, click here.