U.S. player pool
Quick Take: A thundering center-forward, she dominated the Women's 1991 World Cup in China to earn the Golden Boot. She changed roles in the lead-up to the 1996 Olympics, dropping into midfield where her playmaking skills and composure with the ball could be more utilized while the beatings she took every game playing with her back to the goal would be greatly reduced. She now is the defensive midfielder, utilizing her superior feel for the game to establish rhythm, and her unparalleled talent to shoot from distance on offense, as well as her dominance in the air on defense. Her strong tackling and ball-distribution skills still make her one of the key U.S. impact players. The battle-worn warrior, a veteran of the USA's first-ever international match back in 1985, and living testament to the history of U.S. women's soccer announced her retirement on August 24, 2000. One of just four women with 100 or more career goals, she had just come back from numerous injuries.
U.S. National Team: Ended a historic 15-year career on August 24, 2000 prior to the Sydney Olympics ... Retires as the national team's second all-time leading scorer (behind Mia Hamm) with 105 goals,37 assists and 247 total points ... Seventh in all-time appearances with 153 caps ... 1999: The all-time leading scorer in Women's World Cup history with 12 goals, she played a key role in the USA's 1999 Women's World Cup victory, scoring the clinching goal in the semifinal against Brazil and exhibiting inspiring play throughout the tournament that earned her the Bronze Ball as the third most valuable player ... Named to the 1999 Women's World Cup All-Star Team ... Named U.S. Soccer's Chevrolet Female Athlete of the Year for 1999, the third time she has been so honored, but first since 1991 ... Played in 20 matches for the USA in 1999, starting 18, while scoring six goals with one assist ... Became just the fourth player in the history of international soccer to score 100 career goals when she tallied against Portugal on Jan. 30, 1999 ... A thundering center-forward in '91 when she dominated the competition in China to earn the Golden Boot, she changed roles in the lead-up to the 1996 Olympics ... She dropped into midfield where her play-making skills and composure with the ball could be more utilized while the beating she took every game with her back to the goal would be greatly reduced ... The USA now utilizes her superior feel for the game to establish rhythm, as well as her unparalleled talent to shoot from distance on offense, and her dominance in the air on defense, winning the vast majority of punts and clearances in the middle of the field ... Her strong tackling and presence in the penalty box on crossed balls still make her one of the most impacting players in the world ... 1998: Started 15 matches in 1998 and scored five goals with three assists in her return to the national team after taking most of 1997 off ... Helped USA to first-ever Goodwill Games gold medal in the summer of '98, scoring in semifinal victory over Denmark ... Received FIFA's highest honor, the FIFA Order of Merit, on June 7, 1998, at the XVth FIFA Congress in Paris, just prior to the start of the 1998 World Cup, for her positive contributions to the game ... One of only two women named to a special FIFA Commission by President Sepp Blatter to help shape initiatives for the future of soccer ... Also on the commission is Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Sir Bobby Charlton and Michel Platini ... 1996-1997: Member of the Gold Medal winning U.S. Women's National Team at the 1996 Olympic Games ... The U.S. Women's National Team's second all-time leading scorer with 104 goals in 146 international matches through the end of 1999 ... Took a break from the national team after the Olympic Final on August 1, 1996, to recover from knee surgery and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and did not play a full international for the USA until Oct. 30, 1997, against Sweden ... Started all five matches in the Olympics, scoring a crucial tying goal on a penalty kick in the USA's 2-1 semifinal victory over Norway ... Most valuable player at U.S. Women's Cup '96 after scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 defeat of China ... 1995: Was injured in the opening game of the 1995 FIFA world championship in Sweden and did not play again until the semifinal loss to Norway ... 1994: MVP of the 1994 CONCACAF Qualifying Championship in Montreal where she was tied with Mia Hamm as the tournament's second-leading goal scorer with six and helped the USA qualify for the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup in Sweden ... 1991: Was the leading goal scorer in the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup in 1991 in China with 10 goals, including five in one game, to win the Golden Boot Award while leading the USA to U.S. Soccer's first-ever world championship ... Scored both goals in the 1991 Women's World Cup Final as the USA defeated Norway, 2-1, in Guangzhou, China, to win its first world championship ... She also received the Silver Ball Award given to the world championship's second-best player ... U.S. Soccer's Chevrolet Female Athlete of the Year in 1990 and '91 ... Member of the famed Triple-Edge Sword, which included fellow strikers Gabarra and April Heinrichs, Akers dominated a game like no player before or after her ... Pre-1990: Scored 15 goals in 24 games for the USA from 1985-1990 before exploding for 39 goals in 26 games in 1991, a U.S. team record ... A 15-year veteran of the U.S. National Team, she has been there from the inception of the program, playing in the first-ever U.S. Women's National Team match on August 18, 2000 vs. Italy ... In the USA's second-ever full international, scored the first goal in the history of the program on August 21, 1985, in a 2-2 draw with Denmark in Jesolo, Italy ... First Appearance: Aug. 18, 1985, vs. Italy ... First Goal: Aug. 21, 1985, vs. Denmark.
College/High School: Four-time All-American from the University of Central Florida in Orlando where she won the first Hermann Trophy ... Central Florida's Athlete of the Year in 1988-89, and offensive MVP at the 1987 NCAA Final Four ... Had her #10 jersey retired by UCF ... The all-time leading scorer in UCF history and a member of the school's Hall of Fame ... Three-time All-American at Shorecrest High School in Seattle.
Club: Played with the Orlando Calibre Soccer Club of Orlando, FL, runner-up in the 1993 U.S. Women's Amateur National Cup Finals ... Competed for three seasons in Sweden with Tyreso Football Club (1990, 1992 and 1994) ... In 1992, she scored 43 goals and was the leading goal scorer male or female from any of Sweden's professional divisions.
Personal: Full name Michelle Anne Akers ... Author of several books, including Standing Fast, which chronicles her battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and her overcoming of incredible obstacles to win a gold medal ... Her latest book The Game and the Glory is due out in April of 2000 Founder of Soccer Outreach International, an organization with the goals of initiating an international movement through soccer which will inspire, equip and send individuals and organizations to impart and mentor Christian-principled character, purpose, and leadership throughout the world ... Frequently speaks to children and adults in association with organizations like the Billy Graham Evangelical Association and other Christian agencies as well as performing clinics for soccer groups and teams all over the world ... Has own web page at www.michelleakers.com ... There is a soccer scholarship in her name endowed at Central Florida ... Owns two horses, an Arabian horse named Vinnie and a thoroughbred/quarter mix named Stormy ... Graduated from Central Florida with a degree in Liberal Studies and Health ... The first female American soccer player to sign a shoe endorsement deal back in 1991.