Michelle Akers to be honored at Coaches Convention

Michelle Akers, the dominant player of the early years of the U.S. women's national team program, will receive the 2019 Walt Chyzowych Distinguished Playing Career Award at ceremonies on Jan. 12 during the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago.

Akers scored the first goal in the history of the U.S. women's national team in 1985 and scored 10 goals for the USA, including both goals in the final against Norway, to lead it to the 1991 Women's World Cup championship.

Akers battled through health issues, involving the Epstein-Barr virus, to help the USA win the  first-ever gold medal awarded for women’s soccer at the 1996 Olympic Games. Later in her career, she moved from forward to midfield and led the USA to its second Women's World Cup title in 1999.

In 1998, Akers was awarded with FIFA Order of Merit for her positive contribution to the game, and she was named the co-winner along with Chinese star Sun Wen of FIFA's Women's Player of the Century to go along with men's co-winners Pele and Diego Maradona.

Akers, who finished a 15-year international playing career with 105 goals in 153 games, was described as “the best woman who has ever played the game” by her longtime coach, the late Tony DiCicco,

She was an All-American in high school at Seattle’s Shorecrest High School and a four-time All-American at Central Florida, winning the first Hermann Trophy and MAC Award, both awarded for the first time in 1988.

Akers today devotes most of her time to operating the Michelle Akers Horse Rescue and Outreach in Powder Springs, Georgia. The nonprofit is dedicated to the caring of abandoned horses and other abused or unwanted animals. She continues to train players and each summer hosts the Michelle Akers Farm Tough Soccer Camp in Powder Springs.

Previous recipients of the Chyzowych playing career award were Landon Donovan, the inaugural recipient in 2017, and members of the USA’s five-a-side teams that won the silver and bronze medals at the 1992 and 1989 FIFA world championships, respectively. They were honored this year.

8 comments about "Michelle Akers to be honored at Coaches Convention".
  1. Kenneth Barr, December 26, 2018 at 12:55 a.m.

    It's about time the best footballer this country has ever produced receive this award.

  2. Wooden Ships replied, December 26, 2018 at 7:53 a.m.


  3. Brian Yaney, December 26, 2018 at 7:26 a.m.

    she could have played for the men's team

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, December 26, 2018 at 8:18 a.m.

     Akers "scored 10 goals for the USA" in 1991 at the World Cup Finals, 105 in her career. I wish that she and her teammates were more involved in running USSF. April Heinrich's leaving has reduced the daily influence of an outstanding group of women on the programs.

    My greatest concern is after the 2019 finals when the new management-by-committee approach is implemented, stripping the coach of control over how the WNT plays.  

  5. Bob Ashpole replied, December 26, 2018 at 8:19 a.m.

    Sorry, that was intended to be a comment, not a reply.

  6. frank schoon replied, December 26, 2018 at 11 a.m.

    Geeez, Bob, that is real scary, the taking away of control from the coach....I personally think Cordeiro's leadership of "administrative fiat is a disaster. Those who run Soccer over the years have been consistently chipping away on the individualism so needed to make the game exciting.

  7. James Madison, December 26, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.

    I cannot say more than echo Kennth Barr and Wooden Ships, both as to Akers' stature and as to US Soccer being long overdue in reocgnizing her. She is not only tops as a player, but also tops in courage---no other player in our history, male or female, could have mde it into the 1999 WWC Cup final, let alone the second half and OT, with the Epstein-Barr burden that she carried

  8. beautiful game, December 26, 2018 at 7:11 p.m.

    Saw Akers play in the 1990s...superb footballer... top shelf soccer IQ...Best American player.

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