|Sport:||Football / Soccer|
|Role:||Former England Ladies and GB Ladies Football Team|
Hope Powell CBE is an English former international footballer who was the coach of the England women’s national football team and the Great Britain women’s Olympic football team until August 2013. As a player, Powell won 66 caps for England, mainly as an attacking midfielder, scoring 35 goals. She made her England debut at the age of 16, and went on to play in the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup, England’s first World Cup appearance. She was also vice-captain of her country. At club level Powell played in four FA Women’s Cup finals and captained Croydon to a League and Cup double in 1996.
The Football Association (FA) appointed Powell as England’s first-ever full-time national coach in 1998. She led the team at the2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013 editions of the UEFA Women’s Championship. After failing to qualify in 2003, she guided England to the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2007 and 2011. England’s best results, reaching the final of the UEFA Women’s Championship in 1984 and 2009, both featured Powell. She was a player at the former and coach at the latter.
As well as managing the England senior team, Powell oversaw the whole structure from Under-15s to the Under-23s, a coach mentoring scheme and The FA’s National Player Development Centre at Loughborough University. In May 2009 Powell’s administration implemented central contracts, to help players focus on full-time training and playing, without having to fit it around full-time employment. Initially 17 players signed contracts. In 2003 Powell became the first woman to achieve the UEFA Pro Licence—the highest coaching qualification available.
Powell made newspaper headlines when FA rules banned her from representing her school team beyond the age of 11. The teacher running the team had appealed the ban, not, according to Powell, because he was interested in gender equality, but because of a pragmatic desire to field his strongest team. ]Powell moved on to play club football forMillwall Lionesses when she reached 11.
At Millwall Lionesses Powell came under the influence of coach Alan May. A senior manager with British Telecom, May taught Powell people management skills and remained a major inspiration throughout her career, including when she moved into coaching herself. May was employed as Powell’s head scout when she became England manage.
As the club grew to be one of the most successful in England, Powell left for London rivals Friends of Fulham. A two-year spell with Friends of Fulham culminated in an appearance at the 1989 Women’s FA Cup final. Powell scored twice and is reported to have played exceptionally well, but her team were beaten 3–2 by Leasowe Pacific. The match was played at Old Trafford but attracted only 914 spectators, although it was also broadcast on Channel 4.
In the aftermath of that defeat Powell returned to Millwall Lionesses, where she became the team’s all–time record goalscorer. In 1991 they reached the Women’s FA Cup final and beat Doncaster Belles 1–0 at Prenton Park to win the Cup for the first time. Millwall Lionesses also won the Greater London League to qualify for the inaugural National Division in 1991–92.
The team broke up in the aftermath of that success and Powell moved with team mate Sue Law to form a new club Bromley Borough. Beginning in the South East Counties League, the club quickly progressed through the divisions. After adding England player Brenda Sempare in 1992, Bromley Borough won all 16 matches in the South East Counties League Division One, scoring 142 goals in the process. The team also reached the semi final of the Women’s FA Cup, where they lost 2–0 to treble-winning Arsenal.
In 1993–94 Bromley Borough won the National League Division One South by ten points, securing promotion into the top flight of English women’s football. Although they were handed a chastening 10–1 defeat by Doncaster Belles in the fifth round of the FA Women’s Cup. For 1994–95 the club entered a partnership with Croydon FC and enlisted Powell’s England team mate Debbie Bampton as manager. Powell was one of six Croydon players who represented England at the 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cu
With Powell as captain and Bampton as player-manager, Croydon won a domestic double in 1995–96. In the FA Women’s Cup final against Liverpool at The Den, Powell equalised Karen Burke’s opening goal then scored from the spot as Croydon won a penalty shootout. A farcical end of season fixture backlog saw Croydon play five games in ten days, winning four and drawing one to erode Doncaster Belles’ 13-point lead and win the National Premier Division on goal difference.
In 1997–98 Croydon lost both domestic Cup finals to Arsenal. The 1998 FA Women’s Cup final was lost 3–2 and, despite scoring Croydon’s second goal, Powell missed out on her third winners’ medal. She had agreed to take over as England coach and retired from playing
Martin Reagan gave Powell her England debut against Republic of Ireland, in a 6–0 Euro qualifying win staged at Elm Park in Reading, Berkshire on 9 September 1983.] Aged 17, Powell played in the final of the 1984 European Competition for Women’s Football as England were beaten by Sweden on penalties. The two–legged final had seen England recover a one goal deficit at Kenilworth Road in Luton, in muddy conditions described by Powell as “absolutely shocking.
Powell had passed the FA’s preliminary coaching award at the age of 19. During her later playing career she had worked as a development officer for Lewisham London Borough Council and in Crystal Palace FC’s community outreach scheme. She had also been a volunteer coach at soccer camps in the United States. Ted Copeland encouraged Powell to complete the FA’s new female coach mentoring scheme and obtain her ‘B’ licence while she was still playing
England were unfortunate to be drawn in a 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup qualification group with Norway and Germany, the reigning World and European champions, respectively. Copeland quit as manager after a 1–0 defeat to Germany at The Den in March 1998, which Powell had started.
At 31 Powell became the youngest ever coach of any English national football team, as well as the first woman and the first black person to hold the office.
On 26 July 1998 Powell managed England for the first time in a friendly against Sweden at Victoria Road, Dagenham. After entering the game as a substitute, Swedish debutantMalin Moström scored the only goal on 84 minutes. Powell’s first competitive fixture in charge was the 2–0 defeat to Norway in Lillestrøm the following month, which consigned England to last place in the group and meant they faced a relegation play-off against Romania. Had England lost they faced being demoted to B level and therefore unable to qualify for major tournaments. Powell described the situation as “very much do-or-die” since a substantial reduction in funding was at stake. A 6–2 aggregate victory kept England’s place among the elite.
In 2003 Powell became the first woman to be awarded the UEFA Pro Licence, studying alongside Stuart Pearce. She had become England coach in 1998, and led the national team to the final of Euro 2009 where they lost to Germany. It was speculated that Powell would become the first female manager in English men’s football when she was linked with the vacant managerial role at Grimsby Town in October 2009, however caretaker manager Neil Woods was appointed on a permanent basis.
At the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, England suffered a quarter-final penalty shootout defeat to France following a 1–1 draw. Powell controversially attributed “cowardice” to the players who had failed to volunteer to take penalty. After England’s disastrous showing at UEFA Women’s Euro 2013, there was a clamour for Powell to be sacked. However, despite the first round exit, she retained the support of the FA.
In July 2013 Keith Boanas made an outspoken attack on Powell’s record as England manager and publicly called on her to resign. As he had also applied for the job in 1998, but was not granted an interview, Boanas suspected that the selection of the relatively unqualified Powell was “a political appointment to cover all bases”. He criticised Powell’s role in the international retirement of his wife Pauline Cope and suggested that anyone could match or surpass Powell’s achievements, given a similar level of support.
On 20 August 2013, Powell was sacked as manager of the England women’s team.
Powell was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2002 and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours. In 2003 she was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of her talents.
Powell was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of East London in 2011.