It was with great disappointment that FIFA learnt on 25 August that the outstanding player of the US women’s team, Michelle Akers, was putting an end to her active career and will not be able to help her team defend its title in next month’s Olympic Games in Australia.

The unparalleled contribution that Michelle Akers has made to the cause of women’s football was recognised two years ago when she was awarded the FIFA Order of Merit at the FIFA Congress in Paris.

Since then, she has won her second World Championship gold medal as the US team ecaptured the FIFA Women’s World Cup last year in Los Angeles, repeating their success of 1991.

But a nagging shoulder injury and the long-term effects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which she has fought against so long and so gallantly, have finally made the 34 year-old have to call it a day.

"This week hasn't been a time to reflect on the 15 years I've been withthe team. Its been more or less making a decision and telling people intime in the proper way," said Michelle Akers reflecting on her career. "There's not one thing, and not even 25 things, its really a feeling of satisfaction and warmth and incredible gratitude to be able to play alongside so many incredible people. Its mostly been about the people. There's a lot of little things that people might not know happened, but they mean a lot to me."

FIFA thanks Michelle Akers for all she has brought to women’s football and wishes her good health and every success in the years ahead.