The Voice of the Philadelphia Soul
Friday April 8, 2016
Vinnie Caligiuri: The Man behind the Mic – Ready to kick off his 11th Season at the Home Opener on Monday
PHILADELPHIA - Only one voice has echoed around the arena when the Philadelphia Soul have taken the field in the franchise’s 10-year history. That voice belongs to Vinnie Caligiuri, and he serves a much bigger role than simply the team’s public address announcer.
“Vinnie is the Voice of the Soul,” said Soul Chief Operating Officer John Adams. “Our game experience centers around him. He is the one that gets the crowd onto its feet, screaming and cheering and guiding them through the ebs and flows of our game. Nobody does it like him and I couldn’t imagine a Soul season without Vinnie behind the mic.”
“It’s my job to get everyone pumped up,” said Caligiuri. “As fans we owe it to the players to root for them no matter what the score is. Fans are the most important part of the game experience.”
Caligiuri has been there since the beginning. His first game as a PA announcer was on February 8, 2004, when the team took on the New Orleans VooDoo, the first game in Philadelphia Soul history. He had no prior experience as a PA announcer and at first it did not go too well.
“The first game I realized there was way more to this job than I could have ever imagined,” Caligiuri said. “But we got through it.”
There was a learning curve during that first season while everyone figured out their roles and responsibilities. Once that was all sorted out, Caligiuri found what he could do in his role to get the crowd more into the game.
Before becoming the voice of the Soul, Caligiuri bounced around on various radio stations throughout the city. He has been on 97.5 The Fanatic, WMMR, and WYSP.
In the early days of his career Caligiuri had the opportunity to meet Soul majority Owner Ron Jaworski. At the time, Caligiuri was not as confident as he has become later in his career, but Jaws always made him feel comfortable during interviews.
Jaws became a frequent guest for Caligiuri. Back before Preston and Steve took over the morning show at WMMR, Caligiuri was a host on The Barsky Show/Philly Guys. Every week Jaws would come on to the show to talk football.
One week when Jaws was on the show he mentioned that Philadelphia was about to get an Arena Football team.
“Having watched one or two games on TV, I was somewhat familiar, but it was Jaws' enthusiasm that drew me in right away,” said Caligiuri.
During the following commercial break Caligiuri leaned towards Jaws and said, “I would love to be your PA announcer.”
“Okay,” Jaws replied and the rest is history.
Since then, Caligiuri has been behind the mic for every Soul home game. Nobody else’s voice has been heard booming over the loudspeakers in either the Wells Fargo Center, or the Spectrum besides Caligiuri.
He plays a big part in every game the Soul play. Crowd noise is a big factor when teams travel to opposing teams’ arenas, and Caligiuri is the man behind the voice that gets the Wells Fargo Center rockin’ every home game.
In 2008, Caligiuri attended the first Soul game in which he was not the PA announcer. That game was the ArenaBowl in New Orleans, when the team took home their first and only championship. In the week prior to the game, Caligiuri emceed multiple pep rallies with then Soul owner Jon Bon Jovi and Jaws.
“Soul fans packed in for every one of them,” said Caligiuri. “While it wasn't the game, it certainly felt like it because I was getting everyone pumped up for the championship game, just like I would back home.”
In the 10 seasons the Soul have played in Philadelphia, there have been a lot of player changes, a couple of different coaches have been at the helm, and ownership has changed hands. The one constant has been Caligiuri, manning the PA announcer position since day one, and getting better and better at it with every passing game.
“To me, there’s nothing better than strapping on the headset and testing the mic,” said Caligiuri.
On Monday, the Philadelphia Soul will take on the Jacksonville Sharks in their home opener at the Wells Fargo Center, and you can bet Caligiuri’s voice will ring around the arena letting Philadelphia know it is time for Soul football.
ABOUT PHILADELPHIA SOUL
The 2015 Eastern Division Champion Philadelphia Soul are in their 11th Season of play. In the first ten seasons, the Soul have won four Division Championships, three Conference Championships and a World Championship. Since the inaugural season in 2004, the Soul are the winningest professional sports team in Philadelphia. Season memberships and Group tickets for the Soul’s upcoming 2016 season are on sale now. For tickets, contact the Soul sales department at (215) 253-4900 ext. 3, or request contact from a Soul representative by filling out the form on www.philadelphiasoul.com. Follow the Soul on Facebook at facebook.com/soul and Twitter at twitter.com/soulfootball.