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How I Started - Coach

Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy - British Council
 This article was generously provided to ClubFootball by the British Council, which operates in China as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy.


Name: Hope Powell

Job: National Team Coach, England Women's Senior Team
Nationality: British
Hope Powell is National Team Coach for the England Women's senior team as well as the Under-16 and Under-18 squads. An accomplished player who gained over 60 England caps before retiring in 1988, Hope has been England coach since 1998.
How did you first get involved in coaching?
"To be honest, I suppose you could say that I became England coach thanks to being in the right place at the right time. In my wildest dreams I never thought I'd be where I am today but I had the right experience and, I guess, a little luck and here I am!
I was interested in the coaching side even before I got my first England caps. I got my first basic coaching qualification at the age of 19 and I got taken on by Stuart Copeland at Crystal Palace to work as a coach with boys' and girls' teams. Whilst I was playing, Stuart encouraged me to enrol on the FA's mentor programme, which guides players through the process of making the transition from player to coach. That's when I got my FA Coaching Licence."
What would you have done if you hadn't taken up coaching?
"I'm pretty sure I would have stayed in sport. I've got a degree in Sports Studies and I worked in sports development for The Prince's Trust (a charity that helps 14-30 year olds to develop confidence, learn new skills and get into work) so it was always my intention to work in that area."
Can you describe your job for us?
"That's difficult! Every day is different. Today I've just got back from Ukraine, where I've been to look at the playing facilities ahead of our play-off with the Ukraine team for the European Championships. I've got lots of letters to answer. We're also working on a football development project with Loughborough University which takes up a lot of time at the moment. Obviously, I also regularly go to watch matches to check up on players and I also liaise with my network of scouts to ensure that we're not missing any promising players. There's never a dull day at the F.A!"
What do you enjoy most about working in football?
"Well I'm being paid to do a job that I love and I don't think many people can say that! Sometimes I find myself standing in the middle of a football pitch thinking what a great job I've got!"
What has been the highlight of your coaching career so far?
"I wouldn't say that any single achievement stood out at the moment. The England team has progressed well to reach the qualifying play-offs for the European Championships. If we qualify then that would be a fantastic achievement."
Do you have a favourite team?
"Not really. I just enjoy watching good football, a nice match between Manchester United and Arsenal is always good value!"
Finally, what advice would you give to people who want to follow in your footsteps?
"Get qualified. That's so important. Unfortunately, it's still true that as a coach, your achievements as a player still make a difference to your reputation. However, as everyone knows, the best players don't always make the best coaches. But if you were to ask me whether I'd be England coach if I hadn't been an England player then I'd have to be honest and say no."



May 2001


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