By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The 2014 Arena Football League season gets underway for the Philadelphia Soul on Saturday night in Phoenix as they visit the Arizona Rattlers, the team that has defeated them in the last two Arena Bowls.
Since 2012, Philadelphia has gone 45-17 and another season of success is the expectation in 2014.
“Camp went great,” Soul head coach Clint Dolezel tells KYW Newsradio. “We got a lot of new faces in. A lot of competition in camp, one of the best camps I’ve ever been involved in, either playing or coaching. We’ve got 11 new players on this year’s team. Got a lot of veterans back, we’ve still got the nucleus of the guys back. So we’re excited. We feel like we’re in better shape than we finished the Arena Bowl at last year.”
As good as the Soul have been the last few seasons, Arizona has proven to be their kryptonite. Philadelphia is winless, all-time, against the Rattlers, including those two Arena Bowl losses. Last year, the Soul also lost twice to the Rattlers during the regular season. Dolezel says everyone has had enough of falling short against them.
“Not only the guys, but the coaching staff, too, for sure,” Dolezel says. “We’re pretty sour about the way things ended up last year. Felt like we handled them twice and didn’t come out on top there the last two times we played them. We know we’ve just got to go out and execute and play good football and get these young guys going in the right direction.”
Dolezel says they know what will be key if they are to finally break through in this series.
“Taking care of the football,” Dolezel says. “It seems like every time we play them, things that don’t normally happen to us, happen to us, as far as turnovers. First time we played them last year, we fumbled three times, threw one pick. Second time we played them, we had them hands down at home and then had a few turnovers late and that was the difference in the ballgame.”
Philadelphia and Arizona will kick-off at 9:00pm in Phoenix on Saturday night.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.