Hopee Powell's friends have told her she is mad for volunteering for a winter on the touchline and the training pitch.

Especially after a few years travelling the world and visiting some of it’s most exotic locations spreading the coaching gospel.

But the former England boss has a whole new world of her own to explore in charge of the Seagulls.

She hopes and expects her new club to be part of the new, fully-professional top tier – or Women’s Super League 1 – which kicks into life next season.

And that is part of the reason why a move to Albion appealed.

Hard-fought wins at Aston Villa and, last Sunday, with ten players at home to Durham have got the Seagulls off to a super start.

All against a backdrop of the announcement that the top tier would go fully pro next season and that new clubs would be part of it subject to criteria which go beyond results on the pitch.

The Argus:

Kirsty Barton helps Albion beat Durham. Picture by Geoff Penn/BHAFC

Powell’s arrival was a clear statement as to where Albion are looking to go, not that they haven’t spelt it out before.

She told The Argus: “The conversation I’ve had with the management here and the owner, everyone is striving to make Brighton (men) sustainable in the Premier League – and WSL1 for the women.

“Then you look further afield – Champions League.

“The foundations are here. You can see they are serious – but serious sensibly.

“That is who I am – I’m a builder, not a buyer.

“I’m assuming that (an application for WSL1) is the plan.

“The FA want it now and we want to be part of that journey.

“We need to fulfil that criteria and, if it isn’t this time, hopefully it is the next time.”

Full-time women’s football is what Powell was used to as England boss.

But it would be a massive change for some players, including club captain Vicky Ashton-Jones.

The Argus reported last week how the defender combines matches with her job on the night shift with Kent Police.

Powell said: “I’ve been there. I was a player and it is far better now.

“I was one of those players who would work all day, then go and train.

“You would meet up on a Friday for an international, play on Sunday and go back to work on a Monday.

“It’s not right but I’ve done it and I managed to do it.

“If that is what you have to do, it just shows the commitment to play.

“While I’m sympathetic, I’ve done it myself.

“Credit to her because that shows a real commitment and real desire but lots of players have done it.

“We train three nights a week. They have gym sessions around that and personalised programmes.

“It is very different to being full-time but hopefully that is the ambition of the club and that will change.”

Powell has asked about the standard she should expect in WSL2 and one well-known friend in particular gave her a positive message.

She said: “The game isn’t as quick as I am used to but I knew that.

“One of my very good friends, Carolina Morace (former Italy and Canada coach), we speak as international coaches.

“She said, ‘Hope, its brilliant, it’s about players being professional and striving to become better’. I think that is really important.

“That is what Brighton is about – professionalism, striving to go forward. And that is what I am all about.”

Powell saw out a notice period in her previous coaching mentor role at the PFA and officially arrived at Albion last week.

She is full of praise for assistant Amy Merricks, who oversaw first team affairs in the build-up to the season and took charge of the opening 1-0 win at Villa.

“When I was offered the job I was told I could bring my staff but that’s not necessary when people are in place.

“I know about Amy, I know about her doing her A licence currently and I was keen to work with her.

“I want to say she’s a good kid – but it makes me feel really old! But she has done really well.

“The staff in place know the culture of the club, they know the place better than me. But I’m looking forward to it.

“When I lost my job (with England), UEFA and FIFA called me so I have travelled the world, seen their cultures, worked with coaches. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the game.

“I’ve spent time with the Thailand team – Namibia, Trinidad. It has been great.

“I’ve got a different perspective and it makes you appreciate how lucky we are – and still we moan!”

Powell has witnessed from a distance less favourable headlines emanating from the women’s game, centred on her England successor Mark Sampson.

She prefers not to make any comment.

But she can see a bright future for England, even if full professionalism within the top division leads to more players coming in from overseas.

She added: “If female players can come to another country and get a good football education and earn money, they will look to do that.

“Because I was part of the England set-up, I know the global game and I know the talent that is out there. I think English players are talented. I think we have got some of the best players.”

Albion go to Millwall today (2pm).