Thank you the this question, I think many people are just starting out like you are and may be shy about asking.
First, I really don't recommand using the emulator. It's really old and unless your project is simply around learning to make SOAP calls, I really would try to get a hold of a Intel AMT computer.
About SOAP... it's not a cleaning product. Intel AMT has a standard web server on port 16992, it's just like any other web server you find on port 80 but on a different port. Just like any web server, it can receive requests (generally GET or POST) and serves back a web page. This is all perfectly fine if it's a person using a web browser and clicking on buttons & links. If a computer wants to access the services on a web server, it uses SOAP: It's just an XML formatted text file you send to the web server at a specific URL, and you get a XML text file as a response. SOAP defines the format of the request and response XML text file.
I suggest you take a look at the SDK and DTK for examples. If you really can't have access to a Intel AMT computer, I have a suggestion... change your project a little and use UPnP instead. Before working on Intel AMT, I released the Intel Tools for UPnP Technologies. UPnP is SOAP based and you could easily build cool software using a tools called "Intel Device Builder", it will generate code for you and like Intel AMT, I recorded a set of training videos to show you how to use it.
Hope this helps,
Ylian (Intel AMT Blog)