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Article ID: 2638
Brent Hills - England Women U21's
Hills Under 21’s On A High
Brent Hills became the Football Association's first full-time Assistant to the England Women’s Coach Hope Powell in February 2002 and has also this season taken the reigns of the recently established national under 21’s side. Here at femaleSOCCER we felt it was time to catch up the former semi-professional footballer, to have a chat about his role within the FA and the future of women’s football in England.
Before taking up his post within the women’s game at the FA, Brent Hill was already heavily involved in the sport. He played as a right-back at semi-professional level with Kingstonian, then persued a career in coaching and lecturing, eventually igniting his relationship with the women’s game, as the current England Under 21’s manager explains:
“I first got involved in about 1996, when I was working as a sports and science lecturer. I helped to set up one of the first female football academies, in association with Millwall Lionesses where Katie Chapman was part of the set up”.
“That’s how my interest in the women’s game really got going and then I saw an advertisement concerning the position of full-time Assistant to the England Women’s Coach”.
The Under 21’s
The women’s England Under 21’s team was introduced to the international set up in 2004 and Brent Hill has been assigned the task of coaching the team to success whilst also aiding players on their progression through to the senior team. With a 1-0 victory over Sweden in October 2004, things appear to be going well for Brent in this new role and it’s something he’s very happy to be part of.
“Hope Powell has been lobbying for an Under 21 team to be introduced for a few years. It’s a massive jump for players to make from an Under 19’s to the Senior team and only the most outstanding of players can make such a transition. Other players are stopped from aiming high, as there’s no obvious pathway to reaching the next stage in their development”.
Work At The FA
Brent Hill speaks enthusiastically about his position at the FA and it’s clearly a job that keeps him extremely busy.
“I worked out that in 2003 I was away working with teams for 160 days of the year. I also contribute to the coaching for our academy at Loughborough University. There’s plenty of coaching courses that I get involved with. There’ s the obvious task of writing reports and I’m also a student, studying football psychology”
“Today I went to a presentation in which England’s Rugby Union World Cup winning coach Clive Woodward was speaking. He helped to confirm a lot of coaching ideas that we already use, but there was also some fresh views on things which were interesting to hear”.
Brent Hills has overlooked an abundance of football talent within the women’s game and is very pleased with the amount of highly skilled youthful players now progressing through the international set up.
“We’ve got a high number of young quality players. Four of the last Under 21’s team played for the seniors in the recent victories over Holland”.
“The under 21’s also took part in the July 2004 Nordic Tournament, which is a gathering of all the young football’s elite. It was a fantastic experience for the girls and we hope to take part in this every year from now on”.
The year 2005 promises to a be a busy and exciting time for women’s international football in England, especially in terms of the senior side, with the country hosting the UEFA 2005 European Championships. Brent believes preparations are going well.
“We’re already working towards 2005, there are more games scheduled and we try to get the squad to meet up at least once every four to six weeks. Obviously the Under 21’s may well prove useful as some girls may come onto the scene and perhaps make it into that squad for the championships”.
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