Born in Santa Clara, California, Michelle Akers attended the University of Central Florida where she was a four-time All-American, was Central Florida's Athlete of the Year in 1988-89, the all-time leading scorer in UCF history and had her #10 jersey retired by the school. She played for the first-ever U.S. Women's National team on August 18, 1985 against Italy and scored the first goal in the history of the program three days later 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. Akers was also the lead scorer in the inaugural FIFA Women's World Cup in 1991 in China, scoring ten goals, including five in one game. This led the U.S. Women's Team to the first world championship, by defeating Norway, 2-1. Akers scored both goals.
In 1996, Akers was again a member of the U.S. Women's National Team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia where they 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.
Since her retirement, she has continued to promote the game of soccer and has written several books, including one that documents her battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.