After 15 years in charge of the women’s national football side Hope Powell has stepped down from her post, leaving behind a backbone that she helped build for women’s football in England.
Her last tournament in charge at the European Championships proved to be too much for the England side and found it challenging to progress through the group stages but now is the time to reflect on someone who has been one of the most influential managers in the women’s game.
It is her determined work behind the scenes of the women’s national side that will be remembered.
As well as managing the national side she oversaw the development of the under-15’s all the way up to the under-21’s.
Her biggest achievement though was helping develop the women’s game from an amateur sport to a semi-professional sport.
When she was playing she was lucky to play in front of 500 people, whereas last summer at the Olympics in a game against the samba masters of Brazil at Wembley, a crowd of over 70,000 witnessed Team GB win 1-0.
Too comprehend that number is astounding and is homage to what Powell has done for the game.
Ofcourse others have played their part in alongside Powell in developing the women’s, but she has pioneered more for the sport, a dedication that was rewarded with a CBE in 2010.
The women’s game at this current time is more like how the men’s game was before the World War, a slow-building process.
Players like Casey Stoney, a former Arsenal ladies player, admitted to washing the men’s kits, an act that has helped keep the players grounded.
Hope Powell has pioneered for women’s football to develop a lot faster than people had predicted and this year new sport channel BT Sport has gained coverage of the Women’s Super League giving the league its much needed coverage.
During her tenure as coach she did manage to win accolades as she won the Cyprus Cup in both 2009 and 2013, but most impressively guided England to the final of the European Championships in 2009.
Her time as head coach was more about action than actual ‘hope’ in retrospect as her actions have led to an infrastructure that can grow for the women’s game.
Her exit can be seen as constructive for the national side as Powell took England to a new level, and maybe now the FA plan to take it to the next.
“I leave very honoured to have contributed to all of the collective achievements of the group over the past 15 years.” Powell said in a statement issued via the League Managers Association.
Collective achievements that will act as the foundation to the success of the future England national women’s team.