ESPN's documentary on the 1999 US Women's National Team features UCF alum Michelle Akers and women's soccer head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak
Michelle Akers, regarded by many as the best female soccer player in the world during her career, was a four-time All-American, was UCF's Athlete of the Year in 1988-89, the all-time leading scorer in UCF history, won the first-ever Hermann Trophy for women in 1988, and had her #10 jersey retired by the school. Akers led UCF to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a berth in the Final Four in 1987.
She played for the first-ever U.S. Women's National team on August 18, 1985, a 1-0 loss to 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 to earn the Golden Boot. 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.
In 2002, she was voted FIFA's Woman Player of the Century, an award she shared with China's Sun Wen. In 2004, she and 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.