Friday, March 24, 2017

Soccer's 4-3-2-1 Formation

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Birmingham resident Ramon Arias has served as president of the pizza franchise Bravo Corporation since 2002. An avid follower of Alabama collegiate sports, Ramon Arias has also spent time coaching his children in Birmingham youth soccer.

There are numerous ways for a coach to organize the 10 players he or she is allowed to have on the field. The most common - and basic - is the 4-4-2 with four defenders, four midfielders, and two attackers. Another variation is the 4-3-2-1, appropriately dubbed the Christmas tree formation.

Like the 4-4-2, the Christmas tree formation employs four defenders (two fullbacks and two center-backs) who rarely cross the half line, but that is the only way in which the two are similar. Two of the three central midfielders are expected to play attacking roles, while one is expected to hang back and focus on defending. Having just one dedicated striker presents challenges in creating offense on the run, but the formation is best used when protecting a lead.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Insights into Leadership on the Field and in the Workplace

Ramon Arias serves as president of Bravo Corporation, in which role he guides a successful restaurant business in Birmingham, Alabama. Having coached his children in youth soccer, Ramon Arias of Birmingham, Alabama, believes that sports teach core lessons of teamwork and character building. 

In a piece published on the Development Dimensions International Talent Management Intelligence blog, a digital marketing executive reflected on connections between on-the-field teamwork and business success. One key insight is that technical experience is not equivalent to leadership. The effective leader understands the rules and strategies of the game intimately and then takes this knowledge to the next level, by assessing the personalities, as well as strengths and weaknesses, of individual players. 

Understanding how to motivate others can be challenging, particularly when the leader is close to the players. The line between mentor and friend is a fine one, and setting the proper boundaries, without coming off as pedantic, is a critical leadership test many coaches face. One key corporate insight is that the inability to lead those who were former colleagues is a key stumbling block when transitioning to a role as “front-line leader.”

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Alabama Alumni Playing in the NFL

Ramon Arias is a Birmingham resident and graduate of the University of Alabama, where he studied economics. When he's not busy managing the successful pizza franchise Bravo Corporation, Ramon Arias enjoys following the University of Alabama Crimson Tide football team, which plays an hour outside of Birmingham at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Alabama has been one of the most successful college football teams in recent years, winning four national championships in the last seven years. That success has led to an influx of former Crimson Tide players competing in the National Football League (NFL). At the start of the 2016 season, there were 35 Alabama alumni on NFL rosters.

Fifteen of those 35 players are offensive or defensive linemen, while five are either top-tier running backs or up-and-coming backs. Eddie Lacy and T.J Yeldon, for example, have been starting backs with their respective teams for at least two seasons, while recently drafted Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake are thought to have promising futures. 

The most dominant former Crimson Tide in the NFL has to be Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who finished second in total yards among all receivers in 2016. Other prominent former Alabama players in the NFL include Amari Cooper, Landon Collins, Dont'a Hightower, and C.J. Mosley.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The History and Dominance of the Crimson Tide Football Team


The president of Bravo Corporation, a prominent pizza franchise headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, Ramon Arias is an alumni of the University of Alabama. Ramon Arias continues to be a fan of the university’s Crimson Tide football team.

The University of Alabama played its first football game in November 1892, though a university-imposed off-campus travel ban for athletic teams in 1896 led to football being completely abandoned in 1898. Due to student opposition, the travel ban was lifted and football resumed in 1899. Since then, the Crimson Tide football team has never looked back. It claims 16 national championships, among the most of any college football team in the country.

The Associated Press ranks the Alabama Crimson Tide football team as one of the top four best teams in collegiate football history. The team’s winning ways continue today. After winning the 2015 national championship, Alabama completed the 2016 regular season with a dominant 13-0 record.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

How Youth Soccer Coaches Can Encourage Teamwork on and off the Field


Ramon Arias serves as the president of Birmingham, Alabama’s Bravo Corporation. His company has numerous restaurant franchise holdings across the state. Outside of his professional endeavors, Ramon Arias has been heavily involved in youth soccer in Birmingham, Alabama, thanks to his children. He is a firm believer in the character-building power of sports.

In soccer, as in life, teamwork often leads to success. Developing teamwork skills is an especially important component of youth soccer, as young athletes are building their interpersonal skills alongside their technical abilities.

Coaches can encourage teamwork by fostering a safe and positive environment. Players should be encouraged to cheer for their teammates, win or lose, and offer as much support as possible. Maintaining a good attitude after mistakes and failures is a crucial yet difficult part of team building for many younger players. To facilitate this, coaches should talk with their teams about identifying goals and finding ways to achieve them as a cohesive unit.

Most importantly, good youth soccer coaches lead by example and encourage players to do the same. Cheering and clapping for young players goes a long way toward reinforcing good attitudes and good teamwork, both on and off the field.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Soccer’s Growing Popularity in America

Birmingham, Alabama, resident Ramon Arias serves as president of a successful pizza franchise. Outside of work, Ramon Arias engages in soccer as both a participant and supporter of youth programs. 

Considered the world’s most popular sport, soccer (more popularly known as football outside of the United States) does not have the same status in the United States. However, the game’s popularity has been growing. Data from US Youth Soccer shows that in 1974 there were only 103,432 registered US youth soccer players. Since then the general trend has been on the rise, with 3,055,148 registered US youth soccer players in 2014. 

A 2014 ESPN poll showed that professional soccer ranked only behind professional football as the most popular sport among youths aged 12 to 17. Yet this popularity is not only confined to youth. Nielsen reported that 24.3 million US television viewers watched the 2010 World Cup Final between the Netherlands and Spain, a higher total than for either the NCAA men’s championship or the Rose Bowl. 

Close to folding in 2001, Major League Soccer (MLS), the professional soccer league in the US, now has 20 teams and is planning to expand to 28 teams. While still having its struggles, another positive sign is its 2015 TV deal with various networks valued at $720 million for eight years. MLS is now broadcast in 140 countries, indicating a growth for American soccer both at home and abroad.