Philadelphia Soul to return in 2011

Posted: June 16, 2010

The Philadelphia Soul are back, but Jon Bon Jovi isn't.

After a two-year hiatus, the franchise will return to the Arena Football League next season. But it will do so without high-profile owner Bon Jovi, who is focusing on his worldwide musical tour.

New owners Cosmo DeNicola and Pete Ciarrocchi will join Craig Spencer and former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski, members of the original ownership group. Ciarrocchi is the owner of the sports bar Chickie's and Pete's. DeNicola is the former owner of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton AF2 franchise.

"We are bringing back to our incredible fans the most exciting, fan-friendly, and affordable brand of football in America," Jaworski said. "My partners and I are committed to putting together a championship team for this great city to be proud of."

The Soul won the ArenaBowl XXII championship in 2008. Shortly afterward, the league canceled its 2009 season because teams were losing an average of $1.5 million a season. A new version of the AFL began in April with 15 teams.

League commissioner Jerry Kurz announced in February that there were serious negotiations to bring teams to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Southern California in 2011. The Soul's return became official Tuesday.

According to a source, the league also will announce the return of the Kansas City and San Jose franchises this weekend.

"We are thrilled to reward our fans with the return of a stronger, fiscally stable Philadelphia Soul franchise," Spencer said. "While we shared the frustration of every fan when the league shut down, we also believed it was essential for the sport's long-term success."

Bon Jovi had been the face of the franchise since it joined the AFL as an expansion team in 2004. At the time, the league hoped that high-profile people such as Bon Jovi and NFL Hall of Famer John Elway, who owned the Colorado Rush, would lure fans in.

The Soul expect to name a head coach in two to three weeks. Former Soul coach Bret Munsey is the director of player personnel and defensive backs coach for the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League. The Tuskers are based in Munsey's hometown of Orlando, giving him the opportunity to spend more time with his family.

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or

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