Hope Powell is a pioneering figure in the world of football for ethnic minority groups, the LGBTQ community, and women. Growing up in a West Indian home where ‘girls did not play football’ and being banned from playing in her school team by the FA, Hope battled back to become England’s first Black coach, first female coach and the first woman to achieve a pro licence. Available to book as a D&I speaker, Hope talks about the need for greater inclusivity and tells stories from her career of how she overcame barriers placed in her way by wider society.
She grew up on a council estate in London where she began playing football with her brothers’ friends, although as a girl they often left her unpicked for a team. Hope continued to strive and joined her school team before being banned by the FA who did not allow mixed-gender teams. Hope also had the social pressure of growing up in a West Indian household that viewed football as not something a young Black girl should be playing. Aged 11 though she went to a training session with Millwall Lionesses and snuck out to attend sessions. Despite her mother’s resistance to her playing, Hope earned an England call up at just 16 years old. During her impressive career, she played for Millwall, Friends of Fulham, Bromley Borough, Croydon and represented England over 60 times. She also won two FA Cups and the National Premier Division, all at a time when woman players were part-time and paid to train and play.
With one eye on coaching, she started her coaching badges as a player and in 1998 she was named England head coach. A breakthrough moment, her appointment made Hope England’s first Black, first female coach and the youngest ever coach. She had great success in the role and led the team to several major tournaments and was also the coach of the first GB Women’s Olympic Football team in 2012. Hope’s career was built on taking the women’s game to the next level and in 2003 she became the first female to earn a UEFA Pro Licence and was a key figure in the implementation of central contracts that saw female players become professional for the first team. She also led the FA’s National Player Development Centre and a coach mentor scheme to improve the women’s game.
Available to hire as a speaker, Hope educates her audiences on diversity & inclusion, looking at Race, Gender and Sexuality by hosting an open and honest discussion about her own experiences. Hope’s talks are perfect for any audience that wants to create a more inclusive and diverse environment.
“We can say with confidence that Hope delivered a very positive and passionate message and had the audience captivated, we wanted even more! The Q&A bar was very well utilised by the audience as far as Scotland locally and internationally – we held a healthy session with her. She was inspiring and encouraging and many asked when we will host another event!”