"girls Don't Play Football"
Akers, born in Santa Clara, California, grew up in Seattle. She had dreamed of being a wide receiver for the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers and, in fact, had practiced catching "Hail Mary" passes during recess. She cried when an elementary school teacher told her, "Michelle, girls can't play football." Soccer, however, was a more than adequate fallback and she became a three-time All-American at Seattle's Shorecrest High School. Akers credits religion, which aroused her interest when she was a high school sophomore, as turning around her life. While acknowledging her successes, she added, "Unfortunately, I had also become the epitome of the rebellious teenager. Skipping school. Dating older guys. Experimenting with drugs. Lying. You name it. I was putting my family, and everyone around me through the test of true love."
At the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Akers was a four-time All-American, won the first Hermann Trophy as national player of the year and was offensive MVP in the 1987 NCAA Final Four. She was also Central Florida's Athlete of the Year in 1988-89.