SportsEvents Readers’ Choice Awards: The Live or Virtual Sports Event to Watch in 2021

1st – UMOJA Games – Midlothian, Virginia 

The UMOJA Outreach Foundation uses soccer to engage, empower and educate the community. This year, the 9th annual UMOJA Games are slated for July 2-4 in Richmond, Virginia, at the River City Sportsplex.

River City Sports Complex is a Chesterfield County Virginia Parks and Recreation Facility. The complex is a 115-acre multisport athletic complex that offers synthetic turf fields for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and other sports.

The UMOJA Games are the largest annual Shi’a soccer tournament with more than eight tournament categories for the entire family.

Participation is limited to followers of the Shi’a Ithna’asheri (Jaffari) faith, and this year will offer 12 categories for boys under the age of 19, women’s 30 and over, and other boys and girls categories based on ages on July 1, 2021.

The River City Sportsplex boasts 12 AstroTurf fields, and all have lighting to allow for night play. The facility will also offer shaded areas for a Bazaar (festival) in the evenings.

The UMOJA Outreach Foundation also offers a uAcademy, uMentor, uCare and UBrains.

2nd – 48th AAU Junior Volleyball Championships – Orlando, Florida

The 48th AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships are scheduled June 17-19 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports and the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 athletes are expected to participate in 2021 with categories for both boys and girls, including the 10U-18U Girls Divisions and the 14U-18U Boys Divisions.

During the 13 days of the Junior National Volleyball Championship, athletes will again compete in world-class volleyball venues. They will take part in the world’s largest volleyball event designated by the Guinness Book of World Records.

More than 500 coaches are traditionally in attendance, and athletes and their families will experience the magic of the Walt Disney World Resort and Theme Parks as part of the action.

The 47th AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships were held this past summer with numerous safeguards and no spectators or international teams. The championships brought 326 teams from across the country to compete in various age-group levels.

According to Keri Burns with AAU, this is AAU Volleyball’s crown jewel event and the nation’s longest continuously running national volleyball tournament.

3rd – 55th AAU Junior Olympic Games – Houston, Texas 

The 55th AAU Junior Olympic Games are slated for July 28-August 7, 2021 in Houston, Texas, and surrounding areas within Harris County, including the George R. Brown Convention Center, the University of Houston Natatorium, St. John’s High School, and Humble High School.

During the last two times the AAU has held the Junior Olympic Games in Houston, in 2012 and 2016, more than 16,000 participants competed in 14 different sports, including track & field, swimming, baton twirling and tumbling, jump rope, pickleball, field hockey, karate, Taekwondo, Sport Stacking and wrestling.

The 2021 event will be held over 11 days, and it will be the third time the Houston area has hosted the event.

The AAU Junior Olympic Games are the largest national multisport event for youth in the United States and originated as a state track & field competition.

“There’s nothing junior about it,” is the competition theme, which represents all 50 states and several U.S. territories.

Honorable Mentions:

Put-in-Bay Soccer Cup Challenge – Put-in-Bay, Ohio

World Karting Charlotte Motor Speedway Karting Challenge – Charlotte, North Carolina

Spikeball Roundnet Association – Raleigh, North Carolina

Halo Lacrosse Events – Various Locations

AMP Events – Various Locations

Easter International Soccer Tournament – Orlando, Florida

Hype Nation Volleyball – Various Locations