SEATTLE, WA—Goalkeepers know when a pair of gloves fits just right and does the job. Shawn Norris knows that the feeling of confidence with equipment is crucial when you are guarding a goal. That’s why the Nintendo gaming expert started West Coast Goalkeeping of Seattle.
“West Coast came about from years of working with youth goalkeepers. They always had the same complaint, I can’t afford the ‘good gloves,’ I always have to wear the ‘crappy’ gloves that wear out faster’,” Norris tells goalWA.net. “So we set out to create original, professional-grade gloves that both pros and kids wear- that costs less than $50.”
Soccer-mad Seattle seems just the place for futbol start-ups. Beyond the Emerald City Shawn’s business gains depth and exposure. “We are based here in Seattle, a small team that handles web site, artwork and shipping. We have a Director of Distribution based in Pennsylvania who works closely with goalkeeper academies and our retailers we are bringing on, and a Partner Manager based in Liverpool in the UK, who handles our endorsers and European sales.”
Still, the heart of what West Coast Goalkeeping stands for beats first in Seattle. “We design our gloves in Seattle, they are tested for every kind of situation from rain and mud to dry conditions on every kind of playing service we can find in order to come up with the best combination . For our first line we also compiled feedback from over 25 goalkeepers at various levels, from high school to professional, and used it to design and tweak features of the Fusion Pro. All of us involved in the company are goalkeepers as well, so we use them almost everyday in training or matches.”
Reaching out to the Pros
West Coast has steadily increased its outreach to professional players and now has a stable of goalkeepers wearing the brand.
One of the more recent ones is Major League Soccer Atlanta United stopper Alec Kann, who has worked with the company to design his own gloves.
The gloves have a unique feature of including grip on the inside of the fingers. Kann said he’s never heard of a glove including that feature. He said the advantage is that the gloves allow goalkeepers to better squeeze the ball instead of having their fingers slip inside the gloves.
“Kind of a goalie-nerd thing, but it’s important to us,” he tells AJC.com.
2015 expansion overseas
Alert Goalkeeping joined West Coast Goalkeeping in 2015. Alert became West Coast Goalkeeping UK and strengthen West Coast’s distribution into the UK.
“We currently have a great customer base in the UK and see a large demand for our products. This will shorten delivery times and customers will no longer have to pay EU VAT taxes on shipments,” says West Coast Goalkeeping President and Managing Director Shawn Norris.
“We will also have access to some amazing pro keepers in European leagues that will wear West Coast products,” Norris continues. “Our headquarters will remain in the Seattle Area, run by our team in the Northwest. Our new team in the UK will join our expanded brand in Thailand and the Middle East in increasing West Coast Goalkeeping’s reach globally.”
West Coast gloves generally get good reviews for price and quality. Here’s a review from a local goalkeeper that was featured on goalWA.net.
“All West Coast Gloves are equipped with their Guardian Finger Protection System. Just like many other brands, each finger has an individual, bendable piece of plastic that slides into a zippered pocket behind your fingers. Usually, you have to pay $100-plus to get a glove with removable finger protection.”