Adidas, MLS extend strategic partnership through 2018

New agreement includes major focus on youth development

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Foster Snell

Just six years into the original 10-year deal between adidas and MLS, things have gone so well that both sides agreed to re-up earlier than planned.

On Monday morning, adidas and Major League Soccer announced an extension to the ground-breaking partnership originally signed in 2004. The original deal, which ran through 2014, named adidas as the official athletic sponsor and product supplier for the league. The new extension runs through 2018.

“One of the major reasons Major League Soccer has become one of the top soccer leagues in the world is due to the support and commitment of adidas,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “They have a clear vision for the sport in North America, and they see MLS as a cornerstone of that vision.

"Our extension with adidas is a major statement by an internationally respected brand that MLS is increasing in value and that our commitments to stadium construction, strategic expansion, player development and improvement in the overall quality of play are paying dividends.”

In line with other recent initiatives by MLS, such as "Generation adidas" and the newly expanded homegrown player rule, the new adidas-MLS extension includes a specific focus on youth development. The major aim of this focus, according to league and corporate officials, is to help shape the future of the sport in North America. That future looks increasingly bright, as the game continues to progress, with increasing interest in the World Cup and the growth of MLS to 19 teams by 2012.

“The United States is a breeding ground for athletic talent and we need to ensure our homegrown athletes have viable opportunities to play soccer at the highest level,” said adidas America president Patrik Nilsson.

“We need to accelerate the model for soccer development in North America to attract and keep elite talent engaged and excited about professional opportunities in the sport. We share a long-term vision with MLS to develop the game and are excited to foster the next generation of American soccer stars.”