A good coach insists that his or her athletes face their fears, shore up their shortcomings, and practice whatever parts of the game they like least, probably because they fail most often there.
Michelle Akers was born on February 1, 1966, in Santa Clara, California. Like many great female football players, she began playing with the neighbourhood boys. Her interest continued, and while playing for the University of Florida soccer team she was the top goal scorer. Her international career started in 1985 when she scored fifteen goals for the U.S. team in just 24 matches. This was an impressive performance. Despite suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, she worked hard on her game and led the U.S. to victory in the 1991 and 1999 Women’s World Cup Tournaments. After her diagnosis, diet and training modifications, as well as a change from forward to midfield position, made it possible for her to continue to play the game. Mia Hamm described her as being the “toughest women alive … made of half iron muscle, half iron will.”
Michelle is one of the greatest international soccer players of all time and was honoured by inclusion in the National Soccer Hall of Fame. She was recognized by FIFA in 2000, jointly with Chinese star, Sun Wen, as Female Player of the Century. Michelle has said that players have a tendency to practice what they like and what they are good at. She believes, however, that it is important to practice what you are not good at and what you fear. She co-wrote the book, The Game and the Glory (2000), with Gregg Lewis. After her retirement, she dedicated her time to running a nonprofit horse rescue farm and conducting soccer camps.
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