By Rebecca Hawksworth

The importance of education for aspiring sports coaches isn’t lost on former England Women’s manager Hope Powell.

Powell, who also led Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, said: “I think formal education in terms of coaching is really important. It skills you in the knowledge of the game and it keeps you abreast of current affairs in football.”

Speaking exclusively to UCFB, she added: “The game changes all the time and part of the education process helps you adapt to those changes. For me, alongside experience, getting those formal qualifications are really important.”

Powell spent most of her playing career with the Millwall Lionesses, and earned over 60 caps for England, including playing in a European final for her country as a 17-year-old. It’s her time as England manager though where she made her name, where she led the nation to two world cup quarter finals, and a European final in 2009.

Stressing the importance of education, Powell is adamant that coaches continue to learn and adapt to their surroundings as their careers progress. She said: “The danger is that you get this qualification and then you assume that you’ve got all the knowledge and all the answers. The game evolves so you need to evolve with it.”

Powell added: “Whether you’ve got the pro-licence or not, it’s really important that you continue to learn. By continual learning you become better; you become better at your trade and you then become better at dealing with players.”

Powell became the first ever full time manager of the England Women’s team in 1998. Her persistence and consistent voice made sure the women’s game became properly funded and administered. There is no doubt the women’s game wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Powell.

She admits though that the battle for women working in the game continues today. Powell said: “It’s a tough industry no matter whether you’re male or female, but I believe it’s harder for women. The assumption is that men are more knowledgeable on the game than women. If you’re a female trying to break into the industry as I did, I think it’s important to get qualified, get experience and don’t be deterred.”