SubscribeGift a Sub
Enable cache 100
Horse Adoption, Welfare, and Charities

A Retired Soccer Star is a Hero for Horses

In the world of soccer, there isn’t much that Michelle Akers hasn’t accomplished. She was the leading scorer in the inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in 1991, where she scored the winning goals for the U.S. team in the final match. She was part of the World Cup teams of 1995 and 1999, the latter culminating in another title for the U.S., as well as the gold-medal-winning 1996 Olympic team. Akers retired from professional soccer in 1999, and today she channels her passion toward promoting animal welfare through Michelle Akers Horse Rescue and Outreach, Inc. The organization provides sanctuary or rehabilitation for horses in need on Akers’ eight-acre property near Atlanta, Georgia.



When discussing her love for horses, Akers sounds just like any other former horse kid. She was inspired by her childhood love of the novel, The Black Stallion, and the longing to have a bond with a horse the way the fictional hero of the story, Alec, connected with The Black. She started riding as a hobby while she was still a pro player, and after her retirement, the horses became her primary focus.



Akers personally financed her rescue operation, purchasing the small farm in 2009. But shortly after moving in, the property was flooded from an unprecedented rainfall in the area. She rescued her horses, but continued flooding nearly destroyed the property, and she had to rebuild nearly from scratch.

Unlike many professional athletes, female soccer players have infamously been underpaid, and Akers went through her savings quickly. Ultimately, Michelle Akers made the decision to sell memorabilia from her soccer career in order to rebuild her horse rescue, but thanks to private donations–many from her former coach, teammates and members of the soccer community–the rebuilding has been successful.

Today, Michelle Akers’ farm is home to several horses, dogs, and occasionally other rescued animals ranging from pigs to goats to roosters.

Find out more about Michelle Akers and her Horse Rescue at MichelleAkers.com.

Leslie Potter

Leslie Potter is a graduate of William Woods University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science with a concentration in saddle seat riding and a minor in Journalism/Mass Communications. She is currently a writer and photographer in Lexington, Ky. Potter worked as a barn manager and riding instructor and was a freelance reporter and photographer for the Horsemen's Yankee Pedlar and Saddle Horse Report before moving to Lexington to join Horse Illustrated as Web Editor from 2008 to 2019. Her current equestrian pursuits include being a grown-up lesson kid at an eventing barn and trail riding with her senior Morgan gelding, Snoopy.

Recent Posts

Latest News from the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

Check out Horse Illustrated's latest updates from the 2024 Paris Olympics on equestrian sport for the three disciplines of dressage,…

17 hours ago

How to Show in Halter Classes

If you’d like to truly "show off” your horse at a horse show, you can’t do much better than to…

24 hours ago

Manage Your Horse’s Joint Pain with Pro-Stride APS, a Non-steroidal Treatment for Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Injuries

What can I do for my horse’s joint pain? It’s a question we all ask our veterinarians at some point.…

2 days ago

Treating a Hoof Abscess

One of the most common causes of sudden-onset lameness in a horse is an abscess of the hoof. These occur…

2 days ago

10 Horse Grooming Hacks

Keep your horse’s coat healthy and happy year-round with these 10 horse grooming tips and hacks from two professional grooms.…

5 days ago

ASPCA Right Horse Adoptable Horse of the Week: Titan

Welcome to Horse Illustrated’s weekly installment of the Right Horse Adoptable Horse of the Week, offered in partnership with the…

6 days ago