Special needs soccer league championship is back after two years

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — It’s been two years of patiently waiting for some athletes after the pandemic pushed back the championship. Now, the championship is back.

A group of Wichita athletes is getting their first shot at the crown in years. The Tri-County League is hosting its soccer league championship today. 

The league started 20 years ago to give students with special needs the opportunity to compete for their schools. 

Students from Derby, Wellington, Maize, Newton, Campus, and the Wichita schools with mixed abilities or who are in structured learning programs can participate. 

League Marketing Director Jason Crippin said it’s specific to the area and allows kids to participate at a high level, with an inclusive community on their side. 

“There are Special Olympics, but this is different,” said Crippin. “This is in the school, and this is strictly our kids versus our kids and so they get to represent their schools, and it’s a big connecting piece to being a bigger part of everything.”

Eight teams compete between the Wichita high schools. Crippen said it’s giving the kids the chance to represent their high schools as a team while giving them a reason to get excited about being active with some friendly competition. 

“It gives them a good outlook,” he said. “It gets them excited about sports, about being healthy, about being a part of school, you know, they have to have good grades, they have to be behaving themselves in order to play, so it’s all connected.”

The first matchup kicks off at 9:45 am at the South YMCA indoor soccer fields. Crippen said the more that can come out to support, the more excited these kids will get.

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