Former footballer and Great Britain women’s Olympic national team coach Hope Powell led her squad to an historic victory when they beat New Zealand 1-0 at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium during the opening game of the 2012 London Olympics. With that result, Great Britain’s first women’s team earned their first win.
Since then, Powell has shown up in the international media giving the team the kudos they deserve, and suggesting that the victory could help ignite interest in the women’s game. “It puts women’s football out there, puts it on the map and hopefully will showcase the sport,” Powell told BBC Sports.
Powell has had a long career in football. She made her England debut when she was only 16-years old and won 66 caps for her country, playing mostly in midfield. Powell was appointed as the first-ever full-time national coach in 1998, and she became the first woman to be awarded UEFA Pro Licence in 2003–the same year she was inducted in the English Football Hall of Fame. Some have speculated that Powell will be the first female manager in men’s football, but so far that hasn’t materialized.
And just today, the BBC reported this interview with Powell:
“I am not the decision maker but my answer would be if we had the opportunity to go into the Olympics – just the women – I would take it,” added Powell, who is also coach of the England team.
“There is nothing better than tournament experience and I think our girls will have learnt so much from being part of this.
“Tournament football is not easy and you learn things very quickly. Then the next time you come up in a tournament you remember the things you have learnt.
“We have missed out on those experiences, so if the opportunity to play at the Olympics arose again – just the women – and we could do that, I would love Team GB to be part of that.”
GB went through their group campaign unbeaten, including a 1-0 defeat of Brazil in front of a crowd of more than 70,000 at Wembley.
Powell’s team were also the first side in action in the Games, effectively kicking off the Olympics when they defeated New Zealand 1-0 at the Millennium Stadium two days before the opening ceremony.
And the coach is hopeful that the campaign will leave a lasting legacy for the women’s game.
“The crowds have been fantastic and it has raised the profile of the women’s game and that is something we wanted to do,” said Powell.
“We have raised awareness throughout the whole of Great Britain. People are now aware that women’s football does exist and that it is a fantastic product.
Powell in 2010 partnered with the U.KK.’s Independent Schools Football Association “to develop girls football in the Independent Sector.” According to the ISFA:
Hope Powell, who was recently awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday honours, won 66 England Caps as a player, scoring 35 goals. Having taken the position of England Team coach in 1998, she has led the National Team to three consecutive European Championships, including the quarter-finals in 2005 and the final in 2009 and a World Cup quarter-final in 2007. She also oversees the whole programme from U15 to full national level.
ISFA is a big admirer of Hope’s achievements and is delighted to be able to take advantage of her expertise in the girls game and strongly hope that this will be the foundation of a strong girls football programme in the Independent Sector.
Image via ISFA
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