The 4th FIFA Women's World Cup concluded at the weekend and while England weren'
The 4th FIFA Women's World Cup concluded at the weekend and while England weren't involved, two figures from The Football Association had key parts to play...
The Fourth Women's World Cup was heralded as a success at the weekend after 26,000 fans had watched one of the greatest ever games contested by women as Germany beat Sweden to lift the world title. Nia Kuenzer headed in a golden goal winner after eight minutes of extra time, with the game having finished 1-1 at 90 minutes.
England National Coach Hope Powell was there to watch the game in her role as part of FIFA's Technical Study Group. Powell, alongside national managers from Scotland and South Africa among others, had been out in the USA for the duration of the tournament making technical reports on teams, players and matches. Part of the TSG's role was to select the Players of the Matches and the star performers in the World Cup XI.
Powell was at the semi-final where Germany beat the hosts and reigning champions USA 3-0, describing it as "the best game (she'd) ever seen."
Powell also found time in her busy schedule to attend FIFA's 3rd Symposium on Women's Football - a two day conference in Long Beach, California, where 250 delegates from 137 federations across the world met to discuss the past, present and future of the game. Attending from The FA was Mr Ray Kiddell, Chairman of The FA Women's Football Committee and FA Vice-Chairman.
The FA's Head of Football Development, Kelly Simmons MBE, was invited to give a talk to the entire delegation on the girls development programme in England. She was the only speaker to address the 250-strong audience on the issue of girls development.
In her presentation, Ms Simmons explained The FA's five-year programme to develop opportunities for girls to play, to encourage and foster excellence as well as developing coaches. Four years into the programme, participation in the girls football in England has grown from 960 to 4,800 affiliated clubs.
England have also achieved success at youth level - with the Under-19 sides reaching the semi-finals of the past two European Championships and the quarter-finals of the inaugural FIFA World Championship in Canada in August 2002.
The presentations was very well received, proving how England's programme for girls development can be a fine example for the rest of the world to learn from and several federations asked questions after the session, showing interest in finding out how they can learn from the good practise.
By Bev Ward