She led the U.S. to successes in the 1991 and 1999 World Cups and the 1996 Olypmics despite fighting chronic fatigue syndrome for much of her career. After retiring in 2001, Akers founded a nonprofit to care for rescued horses. Professional sportsman Michelle Anne Akers was born on February 1, 1966, in Santa Clara, California, and spent much of her youth in Seattle, Washington. Extreme and hardnosed, she acquired her football skills by competing against area boys, and became a three-time All American at Seattle’s Shorecrest High.
Akers cemented her reputation as an elite sportsman throughout a stellar career in the University of Central Florida, where she earned four All-America choices and ended as the school’s all time top scorer. Additionally, she was named the inaugural winner of the girls’s Hermann Trophy in 1988 as the most effective player in collegiate football.
At 5’10” and 150 pounds, she was an imposing figure on the pitch, and she helped bring the American girls to visibility along with her incredible all around skill. Akers ended with 10 goals to earn the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer, and was named the Silver Ball victor as its second best all around player.
Totally exhausted following the World Cup, Akers was identified as having Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. She learned to handle her diet and training customs, and was shifted to the midfield in part to minimize the beatings doled out by opposing defensemen. That year, she was likewise honored together with the FIFA Order of Merit for her positive contributions to the sport.
Akers’s final move in the football limelight arrived during the 1999 World Cup. Although no longer the clear cut star of a squad that featured scoring machine Mia Hamm and goalkeeper Briana Scurry, Akers hit a vital goal to assist get the better of Brazil in the semifinals, and was named to the tournament All Star team following the Americans’ memorable shootout triumph over China in the finals.
Akers relinquished her position on the U.S. team a few weeks before the beginning of the 2000 Olympics due to her slow recovery from a shoulder injury. She declared her official retirement in the sport in October 2001, her 105 goals in international contest second only to Hamm in U.S. women’s history.
Akers’s place among football’s all time greats was supported having numerous accolades after her retirement. Moreover, she joined Hamm as the sole two girls named to the FIFA 100, a listing of the greatest living soccer players picked by Brazilian superstar Pel. Lately, she’s given her time to conducting football practices and running the Michelle Akers Horse Rescue & Outreach, Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to caring for abandoned horses and other animals on her farm in Powder Springs, Georgia.