Flame Bearers: Pathways to Paris

The 2024 Olympics and Paralympics are approaching. Over 7000 women will be competing and right now they’re in the final stretch of preparation. Throug…
Feb 28th, 2024 | 1:14:49

Special Edition: U.S. Women's Soccer Originals (Michelle Akers)

This episode is co-hosted by Michelle's son, Cody. As Michelle shares, "If you want to know who I am, Cody has been with me through it all." According to Cody, growing up, "my classmates and teachers would pull me aside and say, 'we know who your Mom is,' but for me, she was just my Mom." Michelle was born 6 years before Title IX, and never got to watch women compete growing up. Her hero was Super Bowl champ, Mean Joe Greene, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle. She didn't have a professional predecessor, so she became the Mean Joe Green – and more – of women’s soccer. Legendary USA coach Tony DiCicco described her as “the best woman that has ever played.” She played on the first USWNT (the 1985 team!), won the first Women's World Cup and Golden Boot (‘91), was the first women's player to gain global fame, the first player to sign a shoe deal, and was named FIFA Player of the Century ('00). Throughout it all, Michelle's journey has been characterized by her unbridled love of the game, an unwillingness to deal with BS (she always keeps it real and calls a spade a spade), and a prioritization of her family and teammates. In fact, this ENTIRE 1985 series was her idea, as she wanted to give credit to her teammates for the foundational role they have played in the USWNT. In Michelle's story she shares about her ups and downs, her battles with U.S. Soccer, and her life today with son Cody on the farm. We hear from Anson Dorrance (Women's Soccer Coach, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill & Former Coach, USWNT), Jill Ellis (President, San Diego Wave & Former Coach, USWNT), Lesle Gallimore (GM, Seattle Reign FC & Michelle's Former USWNT Pool Teammate), and Heather O'Reilly (USWNT and TST teammates). To write a letter thanking Michelle or anyone on the original USWNT, please send it to marissap@flamebearers.com Media used in this production: -38 years after making history, first USWNT to be honored at Asheville City regular season finale, Chris Womack, June 29th 2023, -The Forgotten Early History of Women’s Soccer, Laurent Dubois, January 22, 2016 -ESPN YouTube Channel, 'USWNT win the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage | 2023 ESPYS (📍 @CapitalOne)'