Special game, special person

By Ben Hope
A PASSION for all things soccer
has already earned 37-year-old Cain
Ludecke a place to represent his state
in four national Special Olympic
Games. This week the Emerald resi
dent is in Adelaide for number five.
Cain’s mother Marge Ludecke said
the Manchester United fan refused to
let his Down syndrome hold him back
as he trained for an hour and a half
most days, either on the soccer field or
in the gym.
“Cain is really committed to the
sport, he lives and breathes soccer,”
Mrs Ludecke said.
“It has also given him a purpose in
life. He has met a lot of friends and
learnt important life skills through
travel and competing in a number of
events.”
Cain started playing soccer 21
years ago after a friend suggested he
get involved in the Special Olympics.
He has been a member of the Doveton
Special Soccer School where he has
trained twice a week since it was estab
lished in 1992.
“Neither of us had ever played soc
cer before and didn’t know much
about it other than from watching a
couple of games on TV,” Mrs Ludecke
said.
“He took to it straight away.”
As well as the social benefits of soc
cer Mrs Ludecke said the sport also
offered health benefits to people with a
mental disability.
“Cain was overweight when he
started but playing soccer has
slimmed him right down with all the
running and work in the gym,” she
said.
“It was his decision to start putting
in the extra work and he now has his
own gym at home.”
Doveton Special Soccer School
coach Juan Carlos Loyola said he was
proud of the commitment Cain put in
to his sport.
“As a coach you are always looking
for a player who will work hard and
Cain does just that,” Loyola said.
“He may be the oldest member in
the team but he is really fit and I know
he is always prepared to give 110 per
cent.
“Everyone in the club loves him
and he is always ready to help out his
teammates.”
Cain will join a nine-person team
from the Doveton Special Soccer Club
at the games with another nine players
from the Wangaratta Special School
making up the rest of the two seven-
person Victorian teams.
“During the games players will be
selected for the Australian team to
travel to Greece for the 2011 Special
Olympic Games,” Loyola said.
“I am hoping there will be a few
members from Doveton in that team.”
As the Doveton Special Soccer
School chairwoman Mrs Ludecke said
the school was always looking for
more volunteers as well as sponsors
for the events.
“All the travel can get expensive
but thankfully the Cardinia Shire
Council has also been generous in giv
ing us $200 towards travel expenses to
help Cain make it to Adelaide,” she
said.

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