By Official Florida FC

Michelle Akers has likely forgotten more about soccer tactics, positioning and the nous required to win matches than most players – male or female – will ever know.

Last week, the Orlando Pride named the legendary midfielder to its 2022 coaching staff.

Akers will serve as an assistant and player development coach under first year head coach Amanda Cromwell.

“Having Michelle get back into the game to coach, develop players and be a mentor is a huge win for soccer,” Cromwell told the team’s website.

Akers has never coached before, but her knowledge of the sport is unquestioned. Akers was a four-time All-American at UCF, scored the first goal in the history of the U.S. Women’s National Team, won two World Cup championships and helped the United States win the 1996 Olympic title.

She scored 107 goals in 155 appearances for the USWNT – a scoring rate more lethal than Christine Sinclair, Marta and Mia Hamm. In 2000, Akers was named the FIFA Co-Player of the Century with Chinese forward Sun Wen.

The term G.O.A.T. is thrown around often, and indiscriminately, in the 21st century. But, there is little doubt that if Akers is not the best women’s soccer player to ever live, she is in the conversation.

Akers has lived in Ocala for years operating a horse rescue farm. Akers will celebrate her birthday on Feb. 1 by hitting the pitch for the first time. The Pride start training for the 2022 season on that date.

Orlando finished eighth in the 10-team NWSL in 2021 with 28 points (7-10-7) in 24 matches.

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