Michelle Akers

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Michelle Akers
Personal information
Full nameMichelle Anne Akers
Date of birth (1966-02-01) February 1, 1966 (age 53)
Place of birth Santa Clara, California, U.S.
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Playing position Midfielder, Forward
College career
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
1985–1988 UCF Knights
Senior career*
YearsTeamApps(Gls)
1990 Tyresö FF
1992 Tyresö FF
1992 Orlando Lions Women
1994 Tyresö FF
National team
1985–2000 United States 155 (107)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Michelle Anne Akers (born February 1, 1966) is an American former soccer player who starred in the 1991 and 1999 Women's World Cup and 1996 Olympics victories by the United States. At the 1991 World Cup, she won the Golden Shoe as the top scorer, with 10 goals.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

The 1996 Summer Olympics—based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States—marked the first time that women participated in the Olympic association football tournament. The tournament featured eight women's national teams from four continental confederations. The teams were drawn into two groups of four and each group played a round-robin tournament. At the end of the group stage, the top two teams advanced to the knockout stage, beginning with the semi-finals and culminating with the gold medal match on August 1, 1996.

United States womens national soccer team Womens national association football team representing the United States

The United States women's national soccer team (USWNT) represents the United States in international women's soccer. The team is the most successful in international women's soccer, winning four Women's World Cup titles, four Olympic gold medals, and eight CONCACAF Gold Cups. It medaled in every World Cup and Olympic tournament in women's soccer history from 1991 to 2015, before being knocked out in the quarterfinal of the 2016 Summer Olympics. The team is governed by United States Soccer Federation and competes in CONCACAF. The United States women's national soccer team recently just won the 2019 World Cup for the 4th time by defeating Netherlands 2-0.

Contents

Akers is regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time. [1] She was named FIFA Female Player of the Century in 2002, an award she shared with China's Sun Wen. [2] [3] In 2004, Akers 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.

FIFA Female Player of the Century was a one-off award created by the global governing body FIFA to decide the greatest football female player of the 20th century, announced at the annual FIFA World gala, held in Rome on 11 December 2000. American player Michelle Akers and Chinese player Sun Wen were joint winners of the award. Michelle Akers won the award based on votes from FIFA officials, journalists and coaches, while Sun Wen won the award based on the Internet poll.

China womens national football team Womens national association football team representing the Peoples Republic of China

The China women's national football team, recognized as China PR by FIFA, is governed by the Chinese Football Association. The team is colloquially referred to as "Zhōngguó Nǚzú".

Sun Wen is a retired Chinese professional football (soccer) player. She previously captained the China women's national football team and the Atlanta Beat of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA).

Akers is a member of the (U.S.) National Soccer Hall of Fame; she was inducted in 2004, along with Paul Caligiuri and Eric Wynalda.

National Soccer Hall of Fame Professional sports hall of fame in Frisco, Texas

The National Soccer Hall of Fame is a private, non-profit institution established in 1979 located in Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The Hall of Fame honors soccer achievements in the United States. Induction into the hall is widely considered the highest honor in American soccer.

Paul David Caligiuri is an American former soccer player who played as a defensive midfielder.

Eric Wynalda American soccer player

Eric Boswell Wynalda is an American soccer coach and television commentator and retired player. He was formerly an analyst and color commentator for soccer coverage on Fox Sports 1 and ESPN. He is currently head coach and technical director of the Las Vegas Lights FC and was previously host of WTF: Wynalda Talks Football on SiriusXM FC.

Early life

Born to Robert and Anne Akers in Santa Clara, California on February 1, 1966, Akers grew up in the Seattle, Washington suburb of Shoreline, where she attended and played soccer for Shorecrest High School. [4] She was named an All-American three times during her high school career. [4] At 5 feet 10 inches (179 cm) in height and 150 pounds (68 kg), Akers had an imposing physical presence on the soccer field and was noted for her aggressive and physical style of play. [5]

Santa Clara, California City in California

Santa Clara is a city in Santa Clara County, California. The city's population was 116,468 as of the 2010 United States Census, making it the ninth-most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area. Located on the southern coast of San Francisco Bay immediately west of San Jose and 45 miles (72 km) southeast of San Francisco, the city was founded in 1777 with the establishment of Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the eighth of 21 California missions. The city was later incorporated in 1852. The mission, the city, and the county are all named for Saint Clare of Assisi.

Seattle City in Washington, United States

Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 744,955 residents as of 2018, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metropolitan area's population stands at 3.94 million, and ranks as the 15th largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the United States.

Shoreline, Washington City in Washington, United States

Shoreline is a city in King County, Washington, United States, 9 miles (14 km) north of Downtown Seattle bordering the northern Seattle city limits. As of the 2010 census, the population was 53,007, making it the 20th largest city in the state of Washington.

University of Central Florida

Akers attended the University of Central Florida on a scholarship where she was selected as four-time NCAA All-American. [4] She was Central Florida's Athlete of the Year in 1988–89, was the all-time leading scorer in UCF history, [4] won the Hermann Trophy in 1988 as the nation's top college soccer player, [4] and had her #10 jersey retired by the school. [6]

University of Central Florida public university in Orlando, Florida, United States

The University of Central Florida, or UCF, is a state university in Orlando, Florida. It has more students enrolled on campus than any other U.S. university.

An All-America team is a hypothetical American sports team composed of outstanding amateur players. These players are broadly considered by media and other relevant commentators as the best players in a particular sport, of a specific season, for each team position.

Hermann Trophy

The Hermann Trophy is awarded annually by the Missouri Athletic Club to the United States's top male and female college soccer players.

Playing career

International

Akers was a member of the 1985 United States women's national soccer team (USWNT) for its first-ever 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 U.S.'s second-ever international game, she scored the first goal in the history of the program, in a 2–2 tie against Denmark. [7]

The 1985 United States women's national soccer team was the first United States women's national soccer team to play international matches. The team played four matches in Jesolo, Italy, at the Mundialito tournament, losing three and drawing one of the matches.

Denmark womens national football team womens national association football team representing Denmark

The Denmark women's national football team represents Denmark in international women's football. The team is controlled by the Danish Football Association (DBU).

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. In 1990 and 1991 she was named the Female Athlete of the Year by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). [4] 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. [4] This led the U.S. women's team to the first women's world championship, defeating Norway 2–1 in the final. Akers scored both U.S. goals in the final.

After the 1991 World Cup, she shifted from striker to central midfielder, 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 the U.S.'s semifinal loss to Norway. [8] [9]

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 first ever gold medal in Olympic Women's Soccer. She played with a torn medial collateral ligament in the holding central midfielder role, anchoring the team's defense, dominating in the air, and playmaking out of the back to maintain possession and generate goal-scoring opportunities. After the tournament her knee required reconstructive surgery for the third time. 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, FIFA’s highest honor in the global game of soccer, for her contributions to the game of soccer on and off the field; she was the first woman ever to receive it. Akers again was a leader and member of the 1999 Women's World Cup team, where the team won their second World Cup championship. Despite playing with a dislocated shoulder, caused by a fan in the quarterfinals, [10] she was awarded the Bronze Ball of the tournament by FIFA.

Shortly before the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Akers retired from the game due to injuries incurred before and during the 1999 FIFA World Cup. She was the U.S. national team's second all-time leading scorer (behind Mia Hamm) with 105 goals, 37 assists and 247 points. [11]

International career statistics

NationYearInternational appearances
AppsStartsMinutesGoalsAssists
United States 19852218020
19865542000
19879872030
19882218001
19906542591
199126251941398
1993121288766
1994127571117
199518171195155
19961716124673
19972218010
1998151592954
19992018133461
20007324210
Career total141531371045010536

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 Cups, China 1991, Sweden 1995 and USA 1999, and one Olympics, Atlanta 1996. She played in 18 matches and scored 13 goals at those four global tournaments. [12] Akers was a gold medalist at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics and world champion at the China 1991 and USA 1999 World Cup tournaments. Team USA with Akers finished third at the 1995 World Cup.

Key (expand for notes on “world cup and olympic goals”)
LocationGeographic location of the venue where the competition occurred
LineupStart – played entire match
on minute (off player) – substituted on at the minute indicated, and player was substituted off at the same time

off minute (on player) – substituted off at the minute indicated, and player was substituted on at the same time
( c ) – captain

MinThe 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/passThe 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 pkGoal 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.)
ScoreThe match score after the goal was scored.
ResultThe final score.

W – match was won
L – match was lost to opponent
D – match was drawn
(W) – penalty-shoot-out was won after a drawn match
(L) – penalty-shoot-out was lost after a drawn match

aetThe 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
GoalMatchDateLocationOpponentLineupMinScoreResultCompetition
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup
1
1991-11-17 [m 1] Panyu Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Start

3–2 W

Group stage
1
2
1991-11-19 [m 2] Panyu Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil Start394–0

5–0 W

Group stage
2
3
1991-11-21 [m 3] Foshan Flag of Japan.svg  Japan

off 41' (on Lilly)

201–0

3–0 W

Group stage
3
372–0
4
4
1991-11-24 [m 4] Foshan Flag of Chinese Taipei (FIFA).svg  Chinese Taipei Start81–0

7–0 W

Quarter-final
5
292–0
6
333–0
7
44 pk5–0
8
486–0
5
1991-11-27 [m 5] Guangzhou Flag of Germany.svg  Germany Start

5–2 W

Semifinal
9
6
1991-11-30 [m 6] Guangzhou Flag of Norway.svg  Norway Start201–0

2–1 W

Final
10
792–1
Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup
7
1995-06-06 [m 7] Gävle Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China PR

off 18' (on Milbrett)

3–3 D

Group stage
8
1995-06-15 [m 8] Västerås Flag of Norway.svg  Norway Start

0–1 L

Semifinal
Flag of the United States.svg Atlanta 1996 Olympic Women's Football Tournament
9
1996-07-21 [m 9] Orlando Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark

off 62' (on Parlow)

3–0 W

Group stage
10
1996-07-23 [m 10] Orlando Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Start

2–1 W

Group stage
11
1996-07-25 [m 11] Miami Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China PR Start

0–0 D

Group stage
11
12
1996-07-28 [m 12] Athens Flag of Norway.svg  Norway Start76 pk1–1

r 2–1aet

Semifinal
13
1996-08-01 [m 13] Athens Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China PR Start

2–1 W

Gold medal match
Flag of the United States.svg USA 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup
14
1999-06-19 [m 14] E Rutherford Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark Start

3–0 W

Group stage
12
15
1999-06-24 [m 15] Chicago Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria

off 45' (on Fair)

395–1

7–1 W

Group stage
16
1999-07-01 [m 16] Washington Flag of Germany.svg  Germany Start

3–2 W

Quarter-final
13
17
1999-07-04 [m 17] Palo Alto Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil Start80 pk2–0

2–0 W

Semifinal
18
1999-07-10 [m 18] Los Angeles Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China PR

off 91' (on Whalen)

0–0(pso 5–4) (W)

Final

Personal life

From 1990 to 1994, she was married and was known as Michelle Akers-Stahl. [13] Later she married again (2003–2007) and had a son in Orlando, Florida. [14] As of 2011, she resided near Atlanta, Georgia, with her son Cody on a small farm doing horse rescue and animal welfare work. [15]

Since her retirement from the USWNT in 2000, she has also continued to promote the game of soccer as a spokesperson, advocate, and leader on various platforms. [16] [17]

See also

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References

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  3. "FIFA names Akers 'Player of the Century.'". ESPN. Retrieved February 4, 2013.Cite web requires |website= (help)
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  9. Michelle Akers enjoying life after soccer http://www.cfs-info.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=712&Itemid=79
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Match reports
  1. "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: Sweden - USA". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  2. "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: Brazil - USA". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  3. "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: Japan - USA". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  4. "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: USA - Chinese Taipei". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  5. "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: Germany - USA". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  6. "FIFA Women's World Cup China 1991: MATCH Report: Norway - USA". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  7. "FIFA Women's World Cup Sweden 1995: MATCH Report: USA - China PR". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  8. "FIFA Women's World Cup Sweden 1995: MATCH Report: USA - Norway". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  9. "Olympic Football Tournaments Atlanta 1996 - Women: MATCH Report: USA - Denmark". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  10. "Olympic Football Tournaments Atlanta 1996 - Women: MATCH Report: USA - Sweden". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  11. "Olympic Football Tournaments Atlanta 1996 - Women: MATCH Report: USA - China PR". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  12. "Olympic Football Tournaments Atlanta 1996 - Women: MATCH Report: Norway - USA". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  13. "Olympic Football Tournaments Atlanta 1996 - Women: MATCH Report: China PR - USA". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  14. "FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999: MATCH Report: USA - Denmark". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  15. "FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999: MATCH Report: USA - Nigeria". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  16. "FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999: MATCH Report: USA - Germany". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  17. "FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999: MATCH Report: USA - Brazil". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)
  18. "FIFA Women's World Cup USA 1999: MATCH Report: USA - China PR". FIFA.Cite web requires |website= (help)

Further reading