ESPN is marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX by unveiling the top 40 female athletes of the past 40 years.
She was a four-time All-American at Central Florida. She scored 105 goals in 153 appearances for the U.S. She earned the Golden Boot as the leading scorer at the 1991 Women's World Cup. She won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games and another World Cup in 1999. She was voted FIFA Woman Player of the Century, alongside China's Sun Wen. And in 2004, she was one of two women on Pele's list of the 125 greatest living players.
But you might not have heard of Michelle Akers, No. 27 in ESPN's countdown.
"She was one of the greatest players ever, but kids now don't necessarily know who she was because there was so much less exposure back then," former U.S. star Julie Foudy says. "The game was really just starting with her."
Earlier in this series:
No. 40: Diver Fu Mingxia
No. 39: Jockey Julie Krone
No. 38: Gymnast Mary Lou Retton
No. 37: Hockey player Cammi Granato
No. 36: Soccer player Kristine Lilly
No. 35: Basketball player Diana Taurasi
No 34: Volleyball player Flo Hyman
No. 33: Soccer player Abby Wambach
No. 32: Swimmer Mary T. Meagher
No. 31: Marathoner Joan Benoit
No. 30: Sprinter Gail Devers
No. 29: Basketball player Nancy Lieberman
No. 28: Marathoner Grete Waitz