Former USWNT standout Michelle Akers will serve as an assistant coach for the Orlando Pride in 2022, the club announced Wednesday.
NEWS: Orlando Pride Announces Assistant Coaching Staff Ahead of 2022 NWSL Season. #AdAstra Stellar Staff Details 💫 https://t.co/4xwEjlsPtt pic.twitter.com/HMcrjZWVJi— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) January 19, 2022
NEWS: Orlando Pride Announces Assistant Coaching Staff Ahead of 2022 NWSL Season. #AdAstra Stellar Staff Details 💫 https://t.co/4xwEjlsPtt pic.twitter.com/HMcrjZWVJi
Joining Akers alongside head coach Amanda Cromwell will be Sam Greene and Seb Hines.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been blessed with amazingly talented assistant coaches. My on-field coaching success was greatly impacted by these individuals and support staff. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to bring a staff to Orlando that will compliment me and each other,” Cromwell said. “This is a staff that I’m well familiar with and is a staff that knows the Orlando community. Most importantly, this is also a staff that is aligned in building a championship culture and developing an identity we want the Orlando Pride to have on the field.”
A two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and FIFA Co-Player of the Century, Akers is one of the most decorated players in American soccer history. Throughout her 15 year career with the USWNT from 1985-2000, she recorded 153 caps and 103 goals. She retired as the nation’s second all-time leading scorer behind Mia Hamm (158) and still sits at No. 6 all time.
She was also teammates with Cromwell at the University of Central Florida and on the USWNT from 1991-1998.
“I’ve always said [Cromwell] was the only person I’d want to work with (in this capacity),” Akers told The Athletic. “So that’s the reason. She asked me, she knows me well, she knows the role I can play and also what I don’t like about coaching, and she carved out a place for me.”
Akers, who founded the Michelle Akers Horse Rescue and Sanctuary upon the conclusion of her career, has spent a lot of time away from the game. But that hasn’t stopped her from feeling the itch to return.
“There’s something about standing on the grass in a big stadium, getting ready for a big game as a team and stepping out there and putting it out there on the line in front of a huge crowd, cheering,” she said. “That’s never been replaced. So now I’m really excited and hungry for that again.”