After the 2014 FIFA World Cup, soccer fans have seen their fair share of golazos — the Spanish and Portuguese word for brilliant goals. However, announcersGalazo Hydration and fans aren’t the only ones screaming, “Golazo,” as the word has found another meaning, this time in the beverage industry.

Founded by soccer enthusiasts Alex Rosenast and Richard Tait in 2011, Seattle-based Golazo Inc. emerged from the co-founders’ desire to offer an alternative to the sports and energy drinks that were currently in the market. “We set off on a mission to build natural sports fuel that was going to be optimized for performance, [had] natural ingredients, and … most [importantly] had phenomenal flavor,” says Tait, co-founder and center midfielder for Golazo Inc.

The company achieved this goal through its product lines Golazo Hydration, Golazo Energy and its latest offering, Golazo Sugar Free Energy.

Available in Mango Lime, Mandarin, Hibiscus and Lemon Lime varieties, Golazo Hydration was formulated for athletes and athletic consumers who were looking for a healthier sports drink, Tait explains. The products contain coconut water for potassium and evaporated cane sugar for replenishment, he adds.

“Our Golazo Hydration has half the sodium of most traditional sports drinks, so it gives you everything you need, but nothing that you don’t,” he says.

For its Energy and Sugar Free Energy lines, the products come in three flavors — Mango Lime, Mandarin and Hibiscus — and were formulated as a caffeinated electrolyte drink for consumers wanting sustained energy with hydrating electrolytes to support their workouts or active lifestyles, Tait says.

“The formulation for that is very unique; it’s got simple ingredients and, most importantly again, phenomenal flavor but half the sugar of leading energy brands,” he notes. “We formulated Golazo to help you be the first to the ball on every field and every game you play.”

Just as important as flavor and efficacy is the brand’s commitment to a natural, healthier alternative, Tait explains. The products are free of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and gluten, and are Non-GMO Project Verified.

“We think that increases the conviction and transparency in our ingredients for consumers and aligns with key trends and retailers who are looking for those types of products in the natural grocery space,” he says. “It really provides an opportunity for further differentiation for us, and frankly it’s something that our consumer is looking for.”

Football focus

With a brand name that is highly associated with the soccer community — also known as football internationally — Golazo has capitalized on those ties through a number of programs and ambassadorships.

“When building a passion brand, you have to find that core audience and advocacy that will help you grow, and ours started with the original insight and the passion that we had around soccer, [or] football, which is the fastest-growing sport in America and the most popular sport in the world,” Tait says. “That’s been our community, that’s been our kernel of passion, and that’s been the audience that embraced us first.”

Since its launch, the brand also is being embraced by a broader audience throughout the athletic community, Tait adds. Yet, its strongest ties remain with soccer lovers, and it is strengthening those ties through its ambassadors DeAndre Yedlin, Will Johnson and soccer legend Pelé.

“We thought [Pelé] was an amazing addition to our global ambassador group and really elevated our brand on a global scale, so it’s a really exciting time for us as we’re embarking on this multi-year global exclusive partnership with Pelé that spans multiple beverage categories and marries the legend and his passion for the beautiful game but also his advocacy for healthier choices,” Tait explains.

The brand also has a number of activities around Yedlin, a member of MLS’s Seattle Sounders and the U.S. National Team, and Johnson, the captain of MLS’s Portland Timbers. The company recently launched a promotion in which fans can enter for a chance to play the FIFA video game with Yedlin. Fans also can enter for a chance to play FootGolf, which is soccer played to the rules of golf on a golf course, with Johnson.

“[Yedlin and Johnson] are phenomenal personalities and really great advocates for healthier choices, and they understand the importance of conditioning and nutrition in the performance of an athlete, so they’ve been great for us in terms of ambassadors but also in terms of getting feedback on the products and ensuring that we’re delivering on that optimized-for-performance promise that we have in the marketplace,” Tait says.

The brand also is the official sports drink of the Washington State Youth Soccer Association, the Portland Thorns and Seattle Reign, which are the professional women’s teams in the Pacific Northwest.

Available at select natural and traditional grocery outlets like Whole Foods, Safeway, QFC, PCC and New Seasons in Washington state, Oregon, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Arizona and Nevada, Golazo is looking forward to more opportunities to share its “Natural Sports Fuel.”

 “From a retail perspective, we’ve got lots of opportunities for growth continued in the West Coast, and then after the West Coast, the logical next step is working with the current partners we have and are enjoying current growth with and then looking to go national with them in the natural retail space and general grocery, with international growth to follow,” Tait says.