Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh, has played in four ArenaBowls. He ranks second in ArenaBowl history in passing yards and touchdowns. — PHOTO COURTESY OF ARENA FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh, has played in four ArenaBowls. He ranks second in ArenaBowl history in passing yards and touchdowns.


The awards keep coming in for the Philadelphia Soul. On Thursday, Soul head coach Clint Dolezel was named 2019 Moss-Marcum Head Coach of the Year, the third time he’s won the award. Dolezel becomes just the second three-time winner in league history, joining fellow Arena Football League Hall of Famer Perry Moss.

On Friday, defensive back James Romain was named AFL Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the third Soul player in the last four years to win the award.

In a season that saw him set the franchise interception record, Romain picked off a league-best eight passes while posting 12 pass break-ups. He returned three of the interceptions for touchdowns, while no other player in the league had more than one pick-six. The seven-year veteran also earned his fourth First Team All-Arena nod and second consecutive Defensive Back of the Year award.

This marks the third time that a Soul player has taken home Defensive Player of the Year honors. The team’s previous winners include defensive back Tracy Belton in 2016 and current general manager and assistant head coach Beau Bell in 2017. The Soul are just the third team in league history to produce at least three Defensive Player of the Year award winners, joining the San Jose Sabercats (5) and Orlando Predators (4).

Despite dealing with a rash of injuries to key starters, Dolezel guided the Soul to a 7-5 regular-season record and the sixth ArenaBowl appearance in franchise history. A former quarterback, he handled play-calling duties for both the offense and defense this year, while producing seven All-Arena honorees. Dolezel currently sits in seventh on the AFL’s all-time coaching wins list, having passed Redskins coach Jay Gruden earlier this season. He was also named Head Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2016.

“Clint Dolezel has been a staple in this game for 20 years and has been one of, if not the biggest contributor to the Soul’s success,” said Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh. “Calling the offense, defense and special teams, there’s no one like him in the game and we’re lucky to have him.”

Now in his seventh year with the Soul, Dolezel boasts an 86-37 record and has led the team to two titles. He hopes to add one more on Sunday when the three-time world champion Soul play the Albany Empire in ArenaBowl 32.

{p class=”x_MsoNormal”}The Soul got to the championship game by beating the Washington Valor in their two-game aggregate semifinal series. Philadelphia won the first game by 36 points (69-33) in D.C. Last Sunday, the Soul won the second game at the Wells Fargo Center, 48-41.

The Empire went 10-2 during the regular season and then dismantled Baltimore Brigade in their two-game aggregate playoff series by a combined score of 123-47.

Albany won two of the teams’ three meetings this season, starting with a 57-48 victory in Week 3 behind First Team All-Arena quarterback Tommy Grady’s seven touchdowns. The Soul responded in Week 10, knocking off the Empire 54-43 thanks to an effective pass rush. Then in the regular season finale at the Times Union Center, Albany picked up a 72-27 victory in a game that featured both teams’ backup quarterbacks for much of the night.

ArenaBowl32 will feature 12 of the 18 First Team All-Arena honorees, including the Soul’s Romain, Darius Prince and Neal Tivis. The Soul also had four Second Team selections in fullback Adrian Ferns, center PK Manley, defensive lineman Sean Daniels and defensive back Dwayne Hollis.

The Soul have 12 players with previous ArenaBowl experience led by Raudabaugh, a nine-year veteran. He has played in four previous title games. The strong-armed quarterback ranks second in ArenaBowl history in passing yards and touchdowns. In his last such appearance in 2017, Raudabaugh threw four touchdowns, three of which went to current teammates Prince (2) and Darius Reynolds (1). Defensively, both James Romain and Hollis had an interception in that victory.

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