Louise Ramsay spoke to Anders Wennesland, the company’s managing director
Anders Wennesland had the idea for a portable goal while he was a student in Bournemouth in 2001. Back then, he used sticks and jumpers as goalposts for kickabouts on the beach and in parks - which certainly made for spontaneity, if not the best game.
But it was only after Wennesland graduated and moved back to his native Norway that he did anything about it. Playing football in an Oslo park, he became increasingly frustrated as the pair of flimsy pop-up goals used for the game were repeatedly buffeted by the wind. Surely there must be a better way? A portable, pop-up goal made with a solid frame?
Working with industrial designer Permafrost, a year later Wennesland’s first prototype of the BazookaGoal was produced. A patented design, it featured a unique telescoping folding function and spring-flex technology.
BazookaGoal was quickly recognised for its brilliance when selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brand New innovation award and officially launched at ISPO MUNICH in February 2011.
“BazookaGoal is the first solid frame pop-up goal on the market,” Wennesland says. “It merges the best of pop-up principles with traditional goalpost design. It’s a good quality product, which allows players to experience a real goal scoring feeling.”
Before BazookaGoal, there were other pop-up goals, the most successful of which was Pugg Goal.
Wennesland explains: “It launched in the 1990s in the USA and was a massive success. Basically designed around a textile and wire frame, it was the best-selling goal of all time, but it didn’t evolve, which left a gap in the market.
“Our goals are premium quality and last as long as aluminium, but are actually made with composite materials and near unbreakable plastics like polycarbonate. They’re very strong, very portable and don’t blow away in the wind.”
Additionally, the solid pop-up frame is designed to reduce the risk of injury. The integrated spring-coil system allows the crossbar to collapse if anyone runs into it, making it safe for even the youngest players. It’s one of the reasons why the Norwegian FA has recommended BazookaGoal as the official match goal for six-year-olds.
Professional club endorsement
Today BazookaGoal has established itself in more than 40 countries worldwide, not just as a consumer product, but also as the preferred skill training goal for professional club academies such as Chelsea, Barcelona and Ajax.
“We didn’t set out to appeal to the club market, instead our focus was to tap into the urban lifestyle consumer market,” Wennesland says. “The goal is easy to carry and takes 10 seconds to set up and put back down. It weighs five kilos and measures 120cm by 75 cm.
“The net wraps around the goal to become a carrying bag and shoulder strap - there are no detachable parts. It’s also a very cool product in terms of its style. We made it in black, rather than white, and made sure the name was memorable.
But Wennesland found he had to adapt to the market in 2012 when Chelsea’s professional academy came knocking.
He says: “They really liked our product, so how could we say no? In response to their feedback, we adapted the goal to make it bigger and they now have around 200 of our goals branded with the Chelsea logo and buy from us a couple of times a year.
“On top of that, about half the Premier League, including Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City, are now using our goals for talent development, which gives us huge exposure to parents and kids. It meant we’re no longer a purely lifestyle product – we’ve crossed over to include clubs.”
The goal has also recently been included in the Barcelona Soccer Camps and officially recommended by the Catalan Football Federation.
In the UK, BazookaGoal is focusing on smaller retailers with a club focus.
“In spring 2017 we’re launching three new versions of the goal, featuring even more innovation, into the consumer market,” Wennesland says. “The new goal is a bit smaller and more compact, which makes it even easier to carry.
“We’ll also be launching urban lifestyle hardware accessories. Hardware is our focus, we won’t be going into shoes or t-shirts. Hardware is what we know and do best.”
BazookaGoal is distributed in the UK by J&R Sports (www.jandrsports.co.uk). For more information about BazookaGoal visit www.bazookagoal.co.uk.