Powell: Growth of women's game a team effort

Albion's head coach hopes growth of the women's game will culminate with success for England at the WEUROs.

By Bruce Talbot • 11 July 2022

By Kyle Hemsley
Hope Powell is proud of the part she has played in the development of the women's game.

Hope Powell is proud to be one of the pioneers for the growth of the women’s game in England.

And she hopes the culmination of the efforts she and others did at the start of the century will be rewarded this summer with success for England in the WEUROs.

Albion’s head coach will be among a sell-out crowd at the Brighton Community Stadium tonight when England can book their place in the knockout stages with victory over Norway in their second Group One fixture, having kicked off the tournament with a 1-0 win over Austria at Old Trafford last Wednesday. If England win their group they will be back in Sussex on July 20 for a quarter-final.

It will be a far cry from 2005 when Powell was England head coach, players were still part-time and more than 30,000 fans – a record-breaking attendance for a women’s game in England at the time – watched their opening match against Finland at the City of Manchester Stadium and Powell had to warn the players pre-match about the decibel levels, because they were used to playing in front of much smaller crowds.

“It's been a team effort,” Powell said. “The game is so accessible now, which has really helped in terms of galvanising fans and the product in the Women's Super League and at international level is better than it has ever been.

"The appetite for women's football is the best I’ve ever known. It feels like a good moment for women's football in this country and hopefully what happens in the tournament will inspire more interest, especially if England go all the way to the final at Wembley.

"And we're all hoping there is a knock-on effect at domestic level, in the WSL. Our crowds at Brighton have increased with every year we've been in the League and hopefully there will be even bigger interest when the season starts, if England do well." 

By Paul Greenwood/ Colorsport/ Shutterstock
England head coach Sarina Wiegman

Powell acknowledges how much the game has moved on in the past 17 years. Sarina Wiegman’s squad is among the youngest in the tournament, with many of the players being developed in the Regional Talent Squads around the country.

“Thanks to the investment in the game the talent pool we have now - based historically on what has been achieved with the academy programmes - laid the foundation for young players coming through. I believe we've got some exceptional young talent in this country," added Powell. 

So can England go all the way? "The expectation is huge. People will have the expectation that England can go on to win it,” added Powell. “We’ve made a winning start which was important, and I’m sure Sandra will feel the team can play a lot better.

“But there is so much publicity around the team which is brilliant to see. Everybody is talking about it. It’s accessible and it’s giving everyone in the country a chance to get behind the team - and other nations. I'm hoping it will be a fantastic display of the best talent in Europe.”

To ensure you’re at every Albion women’s team game next season, purchase your season ticket by clicking here.