Four months on and the enthusiasm hasn’t faded.
Hope Powell, England Women’s National Coach and Team GB Head Coach, is reflecting on the experience of competing at the Olympics. The involvement clearly had a significant effect.
“For me, and I can probably speak for everybody involved, the experience was unbelievable. It exceeded all my expectations,” explained Powell, who led Team GB to the quarter-finals before defeat against Canada.
Powell, who has been shortlisted for the FIFA coach of the year award for women's football, admits the defeat was partly due to the opposition’s game plan and the fact Team GB ‘just didn’t play’.
It all felt very premature. Beating Brazil earlier in the tournament demonstrated Team GB’s ability to compete with the best teams in the world.
However, reflecting on the tournament, it isn’t football that provides the overriding feeling, instead it's the lasting memory of being part of something much bigger.
“To actually be part of it was very unique. It’s quite difficult to explain, on the one hand you’re trying to prepare your sport to do very well and then on the other hand you’re embracing all the other sports and you want everybody else to do well.”
Powell recalls how the whole squad got ‘positively’ carried away by the spirit and culture, wholly embracing the Olympic way of life.
In keeping with many post-games interviews Powell is quick to reference the effect of the Olympic village.
“The Olympic Village tied it all together. It’s a fantastic environment and unless you see it you probably can’t appreciate it," she said.
"You are in this mini-world with all these fantastic athletes. It’s so different to the football environment."
With nearly 155,000 attending Team GB’s four games women’s football deservedly enjoyed their moment in the spotlight.
“The girls really recognised that it was a good opportunity to showcase the sport, which was part of my message at the beginning of the tournament about leaving a legacy.
“It was a great opportunity to show that the Women’s Team GB team was a good product, and everybody embraced that,” added Powell.
After the intense exposure during the tournament, sustaining and building upon the interest in the women’s game represents a continuing challenge.
“I think it’s about getting our role-models out there, making them visible and accessible. You need to let people know that England women’s games are still going on. It’s almost like preaching: women’s football still exists,” added Powell.
In October The FA announced a five-year plan for the future of the women’s game. The ‘Game Changer’ strategy includes creating an Elite Performance Unit, developing The FA Women’s Super League and delivering a new commercial strategy.
In addition, England Women’s National Coach believes it would be beneficial for Team GB to compete in the next Olympics in Brazil in 2016.
“If it was up to me we would go to the next Olympics. I think we would benefit from the whole experience. It’s another tournament and we’d learn so much from it.
“If you’re ever going to win anything it’s only in the tournaments. So entering tournaments is good practice. Most importantly it gives you an opportunity to be successful.”
The full interview with Hope Powell will be published in December’s issue of The Boot Room, The FA Licensed Coaches’ Club magazine.
To subscribe to the magazine join The FA Licensed Coaches’ club here.
Read issue one of The Boot Room here