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Under Armour sponsors first U.S. professional soccer team with New York Cosmos deal

Under Armour announced a partnership today with The New York Cosmos, marking the brand's first sponsorship of a U.S. professional soccer team.

Under the multi-year deal, Under Armour will design and make uniforms for the iconic team,   starting with the 2016 season, and outfit players with gear and apparel for training, the sidelines and travel.

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"We share many of the same brand values, including ambition and innovation," Erik Stover, the Cosmos COO, said in a statement.

Uniforms will be unveiled March 16 at the Under  Armour Brand House store in New York City.

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The news follows an earlier announcement that the apparel maker will custom make soccer balls for the North American Soccer League.

Under Armour has been taking steps to broaden its appeal in the soccer category, last fall launching its first-ever soccer campaign, "Slay Your Next Giant."

Peter Murray, vice president of global brand and sports marketing for Under Armour, said the partnership with the reigning NASL champions will boost both the sport and Under Armour's U.S. brand positioning in soccer.

The company currently outfits soccer clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur F.C., São Paulo FC, Colo-Colo and Cruz Azul, along with players Memphis Depay of Manchester United, Granit Xhaka of Borussia Mönchengladbach and 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup winners Lauren Holiday and Kelley O'Hara.

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The Cosmos started in 1971 and spent 14 seasons in the NASL, winning five Soccer Bowl trophies and bringing big-name world soccer players to the U.S., including Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Carlos Alberto.

After a nearly 30-year absence from the league, while maintaining a loyal fan following, the team returned Aug. 3, 2013 with a sellout win at Shuart Stadium, followed by another Soccer Bowl win to cap the season.

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