7-year-old becomes newest Griffin on men’s soccer team

Seton Hill University’s (SHU) men soccer team welcomed a new honorary member on Sept. 16. 7-year-old Alex Olbeter signed his letter of intent to play with the team shortly before their game against Salem International University.

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Alex Olbeter signed his letter of intent with the Seton Hill University’s Men’s Soccer Team.

Olbeter’s parents, Mike and Rachael Olbeter, along with spectators and players gathered to watch him declare his spot on the team.

Shortly after his first birthday, Olbeter was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis. The genetic disease is incurable and causes the growth of numerous non-malignant tumors.

The team, through a program called Team IMPACT, adopted Olbeter. According to their website, the mission of Team IMPACT is to “match courageous kids with college teams.”

“Our team is looking to Alex to help make the 2014 season our best ever,” said head soccer coach Dan McCarty in an article on SHU’s athletic page. “Alex’s positive attitude will serve as great motivation for our team when we’re out on the field facing fierce competition in the PSAC, and we hope we can provide him support and camaraderie as he fights for a healthy future.”

The Griffin’s played with Olbeter in mind as they beat Salem International 2-1 in double overtime. This brings the men’s team to a 3-0-1 overall record for this season.

Olbeter has been attending team practices and scrimmages, while members of the soccer team plan on visiting Olbeter’s school to watch him play baseball. Olbeter is a second grade student at Greensburg Salem’s Nicely Elementary.

“He comes and supports us, and we go and support him,” said Jack Wardale, a sophomore on the team, in an interview with the Tribune Review.

To learn more about Team IMPACT, visit goteamimpact.org.

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