Powell calls for Team GB to inspire
July 11, 2012 07:55 am
Team GB manager Hope Powell is challenging her players to inspire a whole new generation of women footballers.
Powell's England side has helped to raise the profile of the game in recent years, but she is hoping her Great Britain squad will reach a whole new audience on the Olympic stage.
She said: "Being the first event of the entire Games could be unprecedented for the women's game in terms of media attention. It's a real opportunity, which we aim to embrace and show the world that women's football is a really good product. We are looking to put a really positive message out about the game."
Powell added: "I'm hoping it will be the catalyst that the game needs right now. It will raise the profile of the women's game and will hopefully encourage more girls to take up the sport, whatever age they are.
"It's a major tournament that is sure to get a lot of attention. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the athletes involved and we are hoping people will come out and support them."
The women's game has progressed rapidly in the years since Powell herself played with the top players plying their trade professionally, and she is convinced that people will be surprised at the technical ability on show during the tournament.
She said: "Women's football is the fastest growing participant sport in the world. When I started playing I thought I was the only girl that played football when I was at school. There are so many more organised opportunities and girl's clubs now, which is fantastic.
"It isn't a shock when you see young girls kicking a ball about in the local park now, which is how it should be, so the game is certainly in a better place.
"Could we be in an even better place? Absolutely. I am hoping that Great Britain do well in the Olympics and the England team do well in the Euros, which will take us further along the line of gaining recognition for the game and taking us further forward."
Team GB will open their campaign against New Zealand at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Wednesday, July 25, but will warm-up alongside the men's team in a double-header at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium on Friday, July 20 with the women facing Sweden and Stuart Pearce's side taking on Brazil.
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