Saturday, 16 June 2012

HTO's Favourite Footballers: Hope Powell

A manager rather than a player (though she was a midfielder once for her country, and a great one), Hope Powell is currently masterminding Team GB's Olympic women's football preparations, and handling the England qualifiers for the 2013 Euros. Here are five reasons why she's a kickass member of the British football scene.

1. She was born in 1966. As far as an England footballer is concerned, if there is any chance at all that she could be the re-incarnation of England World Cup-winning hopes, she's gold dust. And her name is Hope. Whatever tournament they're playing, they've got a damn good chance through superstition alone.

2. She's been England women's coach for 14 years, and was their first ever full-time manager. Think how many England men's coaches there have been in that time. The girl's got staying power.

3. She was the first woman ever to be awarded the UEFA Pro Licence, the highest qualification UEFA offers to coaches. This means that, technically, she's qualified to coach any national team - including the men's. She obviously loves where she is with the women's team, but don't rule this out just yet. She's got plenty of career left, and the times they are a-changing.

4. Her pet hate is cowardice. She was furious with her England team for seeming reluctant to volunteer for the penalty shoot-out against France in the finals of last year's World Cup. She treats the players as briskly and professionally as the pro men's players are treated by their managers, which is exactly what the women's branch of the sport needs to keep gaining credibility.

5. She's been through hell and still keeps fighting for women in sport. As a 12-year-old, she was cut from her local football team just for being a girl, and snuck out of the house to play in matches. In England, she's singlehandedly propelled the game over the last ten years, making gains for the sport and getting her team the time and equipment they deserve. Women's football is still seen as vastly inferior to men's, but Powell is on a mission to change that.

Now you're convinced, see her team in action. BBC 2 is broadcasting England's 2013 Euro qualifier live tomorrow (Sunday 17th June) at 5.15pm, and Powell's team really needs a win. And then, in a few weeks' time, GB will be fielding its first ever women's football team consisting of players from all over the isles, under Powell's direction. It's going to be an interesting few months for the sport.

"People are under the assumption that men's football is better than women's football. I work for the national team. I work with the best female players in the country, playing against the best players in the world. Why would I want to leave that?"
- Hope Powell

"I will not be bullied, and I won't compromise. Not for anything."
- Hope Powell

No comments:

Post a Comment