Back for its 15th year, Under Armour gathered 26 of the best high school volleyball players and top 100+ high school football players in the nation in Orlando, Florida for its annual UA Next All-America Week. Providing a unique mix of world-class experiences and accommodations, access to elite instruction and coaching, and next level competition and exposure for these athletes, the week-long experience provided the next generation of athletes with an opportunity to elevate their mental and physical game.
"UA Next All-America Week provides a taste of what’s to come for these elite athletes. It’s a turning point for them as they close one chapter on their high school careers and move onto a bigger stage. For sports fans eager to become acquainted with the next generation of top collegiate athletes, it'll be well worth following these athletes on their journey to compete."
Trey Evans, Director of Sports Marketing, Americas Teams Sports at Under Armour
On Dec. 29, invited volleyball players arrived at a welcome event featuring the distribution of exclusive Under Armour product, including UA’s latest footwear innovation, the UA SlipSpeed™. Athletes also enjoyed a first-look uniform reveal, content shoots and a team dinner. Day Two featured a practice session led by the nation’s top coaches and instructors, and athletes had access to advanced recovery methods and techniques from some of the best trainers in the country.
On New Year’s Day, athletes enjoyed an exclusive Under Armour shopping experience at the Disney Springs Brand House followed by the second practice session of the week. They were then joined by their families for the inaugural Volleyball All-America Jersey Presentation Ceremony which included a surprise video message from UA Athlete and professional volleyball player, Jordan Thompson, inspiring the young athletes on their journeys to compete throughout the week.
The pinnacle of the experience and the day these athletes had been waiting for–game day– took place on Jan. 2. Athletes got in the zone that day with breakfast, recovery, and pre-game festivities including a lunch and juice bar, a braid bar and meditation. The Under Armour All-America Volleyball Game was televised live on ESPNU from the world-class volleyball facility on the campus of UCF with Team Speed ultimately taking the win over Team Phantom across five exciting sets of the game.
"Every single one of us put 110% into this week. It was the first time we had ever practiced all together and we just did everything we could to connect. We laid out for every single ball and put so much effort into it. I’m going to go back to my club team now and do exactly that, 110% every practice to keep getting better.”
Julia Blyashov, UA Next Volleyball Player
Simultaneously, football players arrived and took part in exclusive product seeding and a media day featuring Under Armour content shoots, and coverage from ESPN and other national and local outlets. They capped off the evening with an official welcome dinner and team meetings with designated position groups. Day Two featured a relaxing day at the brand-new Marriott World Center Water Park as the athletes eased their way into the week after a day of travel. Athletes then practiced under the bright lights of the ESPN Wide World of Sports and the UA World Tour Skills Challenge closed out the evening in an intensely competitive and engaging fashion.
Two subsequent days of practice sessions were televised by ESPNU and led by the nation’s best coaches from the high school, collegiate and NFL levels. The final practice day was followed by a trip to support their fellow high school star athletes at the UA Next All-America Volleyball Game, and then more than 800+ family members congregated to watch the football All-Americans receive their game jerseys.
Finally, game day arrived on Jan. 3, and began with breakfast, recovery and manual therapy. Properly prepared and hyped for what lies ahead, the athletes headed to Camping World Stadium for the 2023 Under Armour All-America Football Game where they played the final games of their high school careers live on ESPN before moving on to star at the collegiate and professional levels. The exciting game ended in a 14-7 win from Team Phantom over Team Speed.
“It’s a blessing to be an Under Armour All-American athlete. To know that UA thinks that highly of me, to bring me out and have me compete against not only the best high school players in the nation, but some of the best athletes in the nation, it means a lot.”
Duce Robinson, UA Next Football Player
In addition to providing youth athletes with the opportunity to learn from elite coaches, the experience also provided coaches the chance to learn from each other. In partnership with the National Coalition for Minority Football Coaches and as part of Under Armour’s commitment to creating more equity on the gridiron, 20 high school coaches from across the country were brought together in Orlando to focus on professional development and networking. The coaches were able to hear from a variety of speakers as well as network with each other to understand best practices about developing the next generation of athletes while also gaining insight into taking the next step within their coaching careers.
Under Armour’s mission has always been to empower those who strive for more and to provide athletes with the performance solutions and experiences they need to support them on their journey to compete. With that mission as a guiding force, year-after-year the UA Next All-America Week serves to further inspire and develop volleyball and football’s top high school talent just as they are about to embark on the next stage of the game.