Ramon Arias is president of Bravo Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama. The successful pizza franchise employs more than 800 people and was voted Franchise of the Year in Alabama in 2009. When he is not overseeing operations, Ramon Arias enjoys watching soccer, a hobby that grew out of his family’s involvement with the game.
On January 6, 2017, the United States Soccer (USS) Board of Directors granted the North American Soccer League (NASL) and the United Soccer League (USL) provisional Division II status for the 2017 season. Qualifying for Division II status allows the teams to play for a spot in the Division I lineup, more commonly known as Major League Soccer. Division I requires greater commitment and year-long practices.
Although the NASL and USL met some of the requirements, they are both still under provisional status until they meet additional criteria designated by the USS board. During this period, an internal committee of the USS will work with the NASL and USL to help them achieve full Division II status.
United States Soccer President Sunil Gulati said this process allows for the larger goal of providing a sustainable future for soccer in the United States. He also added that the league looks forward to another productive year for professional soccer in this country.
The USL and NASL extended their gratitude through USL CEO Alec Papadakis and North Carolina FC owner Steve Malik. Both leagues are open to the process and excited to begin playing in the spring.