The Soul was winners of the Arena Bowl Championship in 2008 (Getty Images).
Ron Jaworski and Craig Spencer will Return Team without Jon Bon Jovi
Philadelphia (Tuesday, June 15, 2010) – When the Arena Football League (AFL) relaunched this season after a one-year hiatus, one of the most glaring observations was the absence of the Philadelphia Soul, which had won the league title in its last season of operation in 2008. After speculation had surrounded the City of Brotherly Love regarding its return, sources confirmed today that the Soul will indeed return to the AFL in 2011, albeit without the presence of former co-owner Jon Bon Jovi.
"I will not be part of the ownership group due to my focus and attention being on the current Bon Jovi worldwide tour, but I have fond memories of my experience with the Soul and especially our 2008 ArenaBowl championship season," Bon Jovi stated. "I continue to be a fan of the team and want nothing but continued success on and off the field for the Soul."
A couple of familiar faces who will return to the executive group of the franchise include Philadelphia businessman Craig Spencer and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski, who currently works as an analyst for ESPN. Newcomers to the Soul ownership group include Pete Ciarrocchi, owner of Chickie's and Pete's, and Cosmo DeNicola, who was the owner of the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pioneers of arenafootball2.
“We are bringing back to our incredible fans the most exciting, fan-friendly and affordable brand of football in America,” Jaworski stated. “My partners and I are committed to putting together a championship team for this great city to be proud of.”
The AFL currently airs a weekly game on the NFL Network, and Commissioner Jerry Kurz hinted during last weekend’s telecast that expansion news would be coming this week. Speculation immediately began to surround the Soul following his comments, and Kurz formerly confirmed the rumors for AFL fans today.
"The AFL is pleased to welcome the Philadelphia Soul back to the Arena Football family," he remarked. "The passionate fans of Philadelphia and the surrounding area, as well as the tremendous ownership group, epitomize Arena Football and the league's continued commitment to the communities we serve."
The Soul will return to the Wachovia Center to play its home contests, where the team averaged 16,477 fans a game over its eight home games in 2008. Spencer said today that the hunt for a head coach has already begun, and he hopes to fill the position within the next month. Bret Munsey, who was head coach of the Soul over its last three years of play, is currently the Director of Player Personnel for the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League.
A formal announcement from the Soul regarding its official return is expected to come out on Wednesday.