Last week, during a post-training interview, Arizona United head coach Michael Dellorusso was amused with the idea that he was an experienced coach.
"I wouldn't call myself experienced," he said with a laugh "But I got one year."
Sure, it's easy to laugh at the concept of experience when he's coached just one season. But compared to what Dellorusso walked into when he was first hired, he might as well be Bruce Arena.
It's not just the experience of a season that Dellorusso will benefit from in 2015. He also just had time.
On March 13, 2014, Arizona United was officially launched. Dellorusso's hiring didn't become official until March 28. The club's first match was on April 12.
There wasn't much time to build a roster.
Despite the time-crunch, Dellorusso built a squad that won two of its first five matches and missed the playoffs by just four points (and it should've just been two, but the team was deducted 2 points for fielding an ineligible player).
Heading into 2015, Dellorusso had much more time to build a roster that he felt was better suited to the grind of a USL season.
"It's what we wanted to do this year," Dellorusso said. "When we looked at guys we looked at, first of all, their ability (and) what they brought to the table as far as that goes. And the second thing is where they have been and their experience. I think that's very important."
There were 19 players from last season's roster that didn't return to the team this season. Of those 19 players, 12 of them had less than 10 matches of professional experience going into 2014.
This past offseason was much different.
Of the club's 13 new signings, eight of them have more than 10 games of professional experience. And four of them have previously played for USL championship winners.
It's not a guaranteed recipe for success, but it shouldn't hurt the club to have a little more experience on the pitch from the very beginning of the season.
And it's already paid off.
After Arizona United's 2-1 win over Orange County, new goalkeeper Carl Woszczunski was named to the USL Team of the Week. And two other new signees, Robbie Derschang and Dennis Chin, scored the club's two goals.
"(The new players') experience in this league is important because, it's a tough league," Dellorusso said. "It's hard, especially the way it's growing. Having guys that understand it and know it and have been through a whole season at least (and have been through) the nitty gritty, is important."
Arizona United travels on the road again, tonight, against LA Galaxy II. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Arizona United travels to Southern California with a five-match winning streak against USL competition. Galaxy II was the last USL team to beat them.