Brighton and Hove Albion Manager Hope Powell has been awarded the 2022 Merit award for her outstanding contribution to the women’s game.
With a playing career spanning twenty years followed by more than two decades in management, Hope has been a huge influence in the women’s game at both club level and for the national side. In 1998 she was appointed as the first ever full-time National Coach of England’s Lionesses, guiding them to consecutive quarter finals of the Women’s World Cup in 2007 and again in 2011.
Her appointment as England manager was triply-historic as she was the youngest person to manage the national side, as well as the first woman and the first non-white person to hold the role. In 2003, Hope became the first woman to achieve the UEFA Pro Licence, paving the way for a whole generation of female coaches and serving as an inspiring role model for many who never thought their professional coaching ambitions were attainable.
Throughout her career Hope has remained an advocate for the professionalisation of the women’s game and in 2009, she helped successfully implement central contracts for the Lionesses so players could focus on full-time training and playing, without having to fit it around full-time employment.
Before taking up her current role with Brighton, Powell worked as a Coach Educator with the players’ union working with male and female PFA members, to attain their UEFA qualifications and help current players on their journey to become the next generation of coaches and managers.
Picking up her award, the Brighton and Hove Albion Manager said: “It is a real honour to receive this trophy, I feel lucky and blessed to be in the game after many years, really grateful.
“One of the nice things about being involved in the game are the vast experiences I have had over the years, whether as a player or manager at FIFA World Cups, European finals or the Olympics and now at Brighton and Hove Albion. Each section has been very different but largely very enjoyable and I feel very lucky and privileged to be in this position.
“I have never been afraid to ask questions and challenge people, I think I have helped shaped the game and drive it forward along with lots of other people. So, I’m hoping I’ll be remembered as someone who was passionate and wanted the best for women’s football on a local and national level.”