|Full name||Michelle Anne Akers|
|Date of birth||February 1, 1966|
|Place of birth||Santa Clara, California, U.S.|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position||Midfielder, k|
|1992||Orlando Lions Women|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Michelle Anne Akers (born February 1, 1966) is a former American soccer player, who starred in the historic 1991 and 1999 Women's World Cup victories by the United States. She won the Golden Boot as the top scorer in the 1991 tournament. Regarded as one of the greatest female soccer players of all time, she is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, and was named FIFA Female Player of the Century, alongside Sun Wen.
Born to Robert and Anne Akers in Santa Clara, California, Akers grew up in the Seattle, Washington suburb of Shoreline, where she attended and played soccer for Shorecrest High School. In her early years, she trained under Allen Richardson, also refereed to as A.R. He taught her invaluable skills such as "the Drop Kick" and "Power Header," moves she used throughout her career. She was named an All-American three times during her high school career. At 5 feet, 10 inches in height and 150 pounds, Akers had an imposing physical presence on the soccer field and was noted for her aggressive and physical style of play.
University of Central Florida
Akers attended the University of Central Florida on a scholarship where she was selected as four-time NCAA All-American. She was Central Florida's Athlete of the Year in 1988–89, the all-time leading scorer in UCF history, won the Hermann Trophy in 1988, and had her #10 jersey retired by the school.
Akers was a member of the 1985 United States women's national soccer team for its first game at a tournament in Italy in August 1985. Due to an ankle injury, she did not play in the first game. However, in the second ever international game for the United States she scored the first goal in the history of the program against Denmark, in a 2–2 tie.
Akers scored 15 goals in 24 games for the U.S. from 1985 to 1990 before scoring a team record 39 goals in 26 games in the 1991 season alone. In 1990 and 1991 she was named the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) Female Athlete of the Year. Akers was also the lead scorer in the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup in China in 1991, scoring ten goals, including five in one game. This led the U.S. women's team to the first women's world championship, defeating Norway 2–1. Akers scored both goals in the finals.
Utterly exhausted after the World Cup, Akers was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome in the spring of 1994 which could have started in late 1991 and of which she never fully recovered. She learned to manage her diet and training habits, and was shifted to the midfield in part to minimize the beatings doled out by opposing defenders. Despite the precautions, Akers suffered a concussion and a knee injury early in the 1995 World Cup, and was hampered by the knee in a semifinal loss to Norway.
In 1996, Akers was again a member of the U.S. women's national team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, where it won the gold medal. She was also a member of the gold-medal-winning, 1998 Goodwill Games team. On June 7, 1998, she was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit, their highest honor, for her contributions to the game of soccer. Akers again was part of the 1999 Women's World Cup team, leading to a second World Cup championship.
Shortly before the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Akers retired from the game as the U.S. national team's second all-time leading scorer (behind Mia Hamm) with 105 goals, 37 assists and 247 points.
International career statistics
Matches and goals scored at World Cup and Olympic tournaments
Michelle Akers competed as a member of USA teams in three FIFA Women's World Cup: China 1991, Sweden 1995 and USA 1999; and one Olympics: Atlanta 1996; played in 18 matches and scored 13 goals at those four global tournaments. Akers was a goal medalist at Atlanta 1996 Olympics, and world champion at China 1991 and USA 1999 world cup tournaments. Akers with team USA finished third at Sweden 1995 world cup.
|Key (expand for notes on “world cup and olympic goals”)|
|Location||Geographic location of the venue where the competition occurred|
|Lineup||Start – played entire match
on minute (off player) – substituted on at the minute indicated, and player was substituted off at the same time
|Min||The minute in the match the goal was scored. For list that include caps, blank indicates played in the match but did not score a goal.|
|Assist/pass||The ball was passed by the player, which assisted in scoring the goal. This column depends on the availability and source of this information.|
|penalty or pk||Goal scored on penalty-kick which was awarded due to foul by opponent. (Goals scored in penalty-shoot-out, at the end of a tied match after extra-time, are not included.)|
|Score||The match score after the goal was scored.|
|Result||The final score.
|aet||The score at the end of extra-time; the match was tied at the end of 90' regulation|
|pso||Penalty-shoot-out score shown in parenthesis; the match was tied at the end of extra-time|
|Orange background color – Olympic women's football tournament|
|Blue background color – FIFA women's world cup final tournament|
In 2004, she and Mia Hamm were the only two women named to the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living soccer players selected by Pelé and commissioned by FIFA for that organization's 100th anniversary. Also in 2004, Akers was inducted, along with Paul Caligiuri and Eric Wynalda, into the US National Soccer Hall of Fame.
She currently lives with her husband Steve Eichenblatt, an attorney who represented her in her rehabilitation lawsuits against the USSF after her retirement, and their son Cody, who was born in 2005 in Orlando, Florida. Akers now resides in Powder Springs, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, and dedicates herself to rescuing horses.
- List of women's association football players with 100 or more international goals
- List of FIFA Women's World Cup goalscorers
- List of Olympic medalists in football
- List of 1996 Summer Olympics medal winners
- List of 2004 Summer Olympics medal winners
- List of players with the most goals in an association football game
- List of University of Central Florida alumni
- List of athletes on Wheaties boxes
- List of Golden Scarf recipients
- List of prizes named after people
- Jeff Carlisle (June 2, 2013). "Players whose influence reaches beyond the pitch". ESPN. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
- Schafer, Elizabeth D (2002) . Dawson, Dawn P, ed. Great Athletes. 1 (Revised ed.). Salem Press. pp. 26–28. ISBN 1-58765-008-8.
- Miller, Marla All-American Girls New York: Pocket Books, 1999, pp. 14–15.
- "US WNT Flashback -- 20th Anniversary of First-Ever Match: Who Scored First?" http://www.ussoccer.com/News/Womens-National-Team/2005/08/U-S-WNT-Flashback-20th-Anniversary-Of-First-Ever-Match-Who-Scored-First.aspx, accessed October 3, 2012.
- Michelle Akers Biography http://www.biography.com/people/michelle-akers-21321911#national-superstar
- Michelle Akers enjoying life after soccer http://www.cfs-info.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=712&Itemid=79
- Alexander, Valerie. "World Cup Soccer Stats Erase The Sport's Most Dominant Players: Women". Jezebel.com.
- "FIFA Player Statistics: Michelle AKERS". FIFA.
- "Michelle Akers Named FIFA Player of the Century". US Soccer. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
- "FIFA names Akers 'Player of the Century.'". ESPN. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- Wahl, Grant, "Green Acres", Sports Illustrated, July 4, 2011, pp. 98–101.
- Match reports
- "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: Sweden - USA". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: Brazil - USA". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: Japan - USA". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: USA - Chinese Taipei". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: Germany - USA". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: Norway - USA". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup Sweden 1995: MATCH Report: USA - China PR". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup Sweden 1995: MATCH Report: USA - Norway". FIFA.
- "Olympic Football Tournaments Atlanta 1996 - Women: MATCH Report: USA - Denmark". FIFA.
- "Olympic Football Tournaments Atlanta 1996 - Women: MATCH Report: USA - Sweden". FIFA.
- "Olympic Football Tournaments Atlanta 1996 - Women: MATCH Report: USA - China PR". FIFA.
- "Olympic Football Tournaments Atlanta 1996 - Women: MATCH Report: Norway - USA". FIFA.
- "Olympic Football Tournaments Atlanta 1996 - Women: MATCH Report: China PR - USA". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999: MATCH Report: USA - Denmark". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999: MATCH Report: USA - Nigeria". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999: MATCH Report: USA - Germany". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999: MATCH Report: USA - Brazil". FIFA.
- "FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999: MATCH Report: USA - China PR". FIFA.
- Akers, M.; Lewis, G. (2000), The Game and the Glory, Zondervan, ISBN 0310700256
- Grainey, Timothy (2012), Beyond Bend It Like Beckham: The Global Phenomenon of Women's Soccer, University of Nebraska Press, ISBN 0803240368
- Kassouf, Jeff (2011), Girls Play to Win Soccer, Norwood House Press, ISBN 1599534649
- LaFontaine, P.; Valutis, E.; Griffin, C.; Weisman, L. (2001), Companions in Courage: Triumphant Tales of Heroic Athletes, Hatchette Digital Inc., ISBN 0759520518
- Lisi, Clemente A. (2010), The U.S. Women's Soccer Team: An American Success Story, Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0810874164
- Longman, Jere (2009), The Girls of Summer: The U.S. Women's Soccer Team and How it Changed the World, HarperCollins, ISBN 0061877689
- Mitchell, N.; Ennis, L. (2007) Encyclopedia of Title IX and Sports, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0313335877
- Rutledge, Rachel (2000), The Best of the Best in Soccer, First Avenue Editions, ISBN 0761313923
- Silverman, Al (2004), It's Not Over 'til it's Over, Penguin, ISBN 1468304313