May 12, 2015
By Charles Cuttone
PLAYING WITH ATTITUDE
Akers hopes to translate her style to kids camp
Michelle Akers built her reputation as the greatest-ever women's soccer player, by playing every game in a take-no-prisoners mode. Akers, who was named the FIFA Player of the Century, has never translated that playing attitude into a full-fledged soccer camp before, but this June, she'll be part of a group of soccer players/trainers offering an all-girls camp at her Powder Spring, Ga. horse farm and adjacent soccer field.
|Michelle Akers holds up the 1991 FIFA Women's World Cup Trophy
Photo by Phil Stephens
"I think what I am excited about, when I work with players, different athletes, my focus is in helping them understand how to train themselves," said Akers. "Which means, a lot of people talk about that and say it's important, but what happens is you give them all this stuff, you take them through the exercises and then they donít know how to do it unless they have exactly what you have, or they are doing exactly what you do. "
Akers, who played in the days when women's soccer was not a full-time occupation, often had to train on her own, and had to battle a myriad of injuries and the effects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Despite that, she helped the U.S. win two Women's World Cups, in 1991 and 1999, and Olympic Gold in 1996.
"As you train and progress as a player, so does your training, it changes and you progress or backtrack," said Akers, who has 10 World Cup goals to her credit. "What I like to do is teach them how to identify their weakness and strengths, how to set up their own training sessions, how to work on weaknesses in a couple of areas and show them progression as we train and go through things so they can kind of take it and apply to other parts of their game."
The Michelle Akers Training Camp this June, which is being put on in conjunction with Amplified Soccer Marketing http://www.amplifiedsoccerathlete.com/camp/, also will feature coaches from Beast Mode Soccer, Yael Averbuch, Chris Gorres and Donna Fishter, providing a well-rounded training program.
"The other part of it is not just about soccer, it's about the total player," said Akers. "It's everybody's goal to be a complete player who kicks ass, so physical, technical and tactical on the field but then also strength, conditioning, injury prevention, speed agility and then the psychology part, which is addressed through game mentality and leadership portion. All pieces."
Anyone who ever saw Akers play during her nearly ten-year national team career that saw her earn 153 caps and 105 career goals knows half-effort is not her style.
"Itís a different camp, because it addresses all of it. It's not just a show up and play soccer for two and a half hours and go home, bye bye and nice to talk to you, thanks for coming."
The setting for the camp is also rather unique, in that it will be at the Michelle Akers' Farm and Hillgrove High School which is across the road from Akers' horse rescue.
Akers has been rescuing horses since 2007 and has been at the current Powder Springs, Ga. location since 2008. In addition to the soccer training (which is being offered as a day camp or overnight), Akers says the campers, girls ages 13-18, also will participate in activities at the horse farm, get to interact with the animals there. The week-long camp will end with closing ceremonies and a barbeque at the horse farm.
Since the dates for the camp (June 12-14) will coincide with this year's Women's World Cup in Canada, campers will have the opportunity to watch the United States take on Sweden in a group stage game on June 12. Following an evening training session and dinner, campers will remain together to watch this match-up on the big screen.
Akers and the rest of the training camp staff will be giving the campers a pregame, half-time, and post-game talk, breaking down what the United States will be trying to do and what the campers should be looking for.