Greatest Manager Series… Hope Powell

Hope Powell, CBE: (Born 8 December 1966) is an English former international footballer who is the coach of the England women’s national football team and the Great Britain and Northern Ireland women’s Olympic football team. Powell is an ‘A’ License coach and in 2003 became the first woman to achieve the UEFA Pro Licence - the highest coaching award available.

On her retirement as a player in 1998, Powell was appointed England women’s national team coach, with responsibility for the senior, Under-19s, Under-17s and Under-15s sides. At the age of 31 she was the youngest ever person to be given the job. In September 2007, Powell will lead England at the World Cup in China, where they will face Germany, the holders and European champions, Japan and Argentina in Group A. Ranked twelfth in the world, England were unbeaten in qualifying, securing progress with a 1-1 draw against France in Rennes.

A football prodigy, Powell made her debut for England at the age of 16. ‘As soon as Hope joined the squad she stood out as an exceptional talent,’ said Gill Coultard, the former England captain. ‘As a creative player she had this outstanding technical ability, and it was obvious to everyone that she would make the step up into the England team,’ Coultard said. In a career disrupted badly by injury, Powell played 66 times for her country as an attacking midfield player or occasional striker between 1983 and 1998, scoring 35 goals at a ratio of more than one goal every two games.

Powell made her debut for England in a 6-0 thrashing of the Republic of Ireland at Reading in a European Championships qualifier on September 11, 1983. England went on to the reach the final of the competition, losing in the final against Sweden the following year. It was the closest Powell came as a player to winning a major honour with England. The squad reached the semi-finals in the tournament in 1987 and 1995 and the quarter-finals in 1991 and 1993.

At club level, Powell enjoyed her greatest success in 1996 when, in addition to being appointed England vice-captain, she lifted both the League and FA Cup with Croydon. She spent nine years of her career with Millwall Lionesses, winning the women’s FA Cup in 1991. Earlier, during a two-year stint with Friends of Fulham, she ended up on the losing side in the 1989 final despite scoring twice.

For most of her time in international football Powell formed a central midfield partnership with Coultard, the most capped female England player in history. The team tactics were formulated in order to take best advantage of Powell’s attacking ability and finishing talent. ‘Her skill set her apart,’ said Coultard. ‘She was a creative player in the mould of Paul Gascoigne. Hope was two-footed and a good dribbler. She could see a pass and she could also score goals.’

In 2002, Powell was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list in recognition of her services to women’s sport. ‘This is a great honour for women’s football,’ she said. The following year she gained the UEFA Pro Licence at the end of a 12-month programme. ‘I consider it a tremendous privilege to have this role as England head coach and I feel very fortunate to do this work for a living.’

Please View London 2012 Olympics: Powell targets legacy

Please View – Hope Powell, head coach of England’s women’s football team, says that the launch of the new Women’s Super League will “raise standards across the board” and increase the participation of women in football.

Please View – Hope Powell cannot wait for London Champions League final. England manager Hope Powell is the ambassador for the final in her home city of London and speaks to about the importance of the event in promoting the women’s game.

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