Five-person Committee of Former USWNT Players to Select 2021 SheBelieves Hero™ FinalistsElite Panel Featuring Olympians and World Cup Veterans Will Review 2021 SheBelieves Hero Semifinalist Submissions
CHICAGO (March 12, 2021) -- A committee of five former U.S. Women's National Team players will select the five finalists for the 2021 SheBelieves Hero™ contest, with fans voting on the winner during the week of March 16-21. The 2021 SheBelieves Hero™ Selection Committee is composed of Michelle Akers, Stephanie Cox, Tina Frimpong-Ellertson, Leslie Osborne and Lindsay Tarpley.
The Committee will select the five finalists from a list of ten semifinalists who were chosen from an initial review panel of independent volunteers and U.S. Soccer staff.
The fifth annual SheBelieves Hero™ contest began taking nominations on Jan. 11 and the process closed March 1. The contest will select a young person between the ages of 13-17 who embodies the SheBelieves spirit. A SheBelieves Hero™ is a leader in their community, a confident and passionate individual who empowers others around them and works to make a positive difference in the world.
In the four previous SheBelieves Hero contests, the winner was chosen before the annual SheBelieves Cup tournament so the winner could attend a match. This year, due to the global pandemic, the decision was made to extend the contest to provide the opportunity for more nominations and to award the winner a trip for two to a future USWNT match.
SheBelieves is a movement created to inspire and encourage girls and women of all ages to accomplish their goals and dreams, athletic or otherwise. The campaign was originally launched in the run-up to the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup but has since evolved into a special bond between the team and its fans, taking its powerful message of empowerment and that of believing in yourself into communities across the nation.
2021 SheBelieves Hero™ Selection Committee
Hailed as one of the greatest players in U.S. and world history, Akers helped lead the USA to the 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup title in China and scored both goals in the 2-1 victory over Norway in the Final. She also helped the USA win the 1996 Olympic gold medal in Athens, Ga., and was one of the heroes of the historic 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship team that enthralled the USA and the world with its World Cup triumph in front of a packed Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. She finished her career with 155 caps and 107 goals, a mark surpassed on Feb. 24 by Alex Morgan, but still leaves Akers sixth all-time in USWNT goal scoring. A true women’s soccer pioneer, Akers scored the USA’s first-ever international goal back in 1985. In 2000, she was named co-Player of the Century by FIFA.
Known as Stephanie Lopez during most of her playing career, she accumulated 89 caps during her international career, which included a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. She also played in the 2007 and 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cups. Her final international match was in 2014, but at age 34, Cox is still playing in the NWSL, with OL Reign, after coming out of retirement in 2019. She had retired from the NWSL in 2015 and had served on the Reign’s coaching staff. She has also been head coach of the Gig Harbor High School girls’ soccer team for the past six years. Cox played in the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand and was the captain of the USA’s 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Team in Russia.
Frimpong-Ellertson earned 34 caps for the USA, scoring once, and was a member of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team. The University of Washington’s all-time leading scorer and two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year is now an assistant coach at her alma mater and has also worked as an assistant coach for several of the USA’s Youth National Teams. Since her retirement as a player, she has also coached at the high school level and with various youth soccer clubs in the Northwest.
One of the USA’s most popular teammates during her international career, Osborne played 61 times for the USA, scoring three goals, and was a member of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team. She was a key member of the first-ever U.S. team to participate in a FIFA youth world championship, helping the young Americans win the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Cup in Canada. She played a part in the sequence that led to fellow committee member Lindsey Tarpley’s game-winning “golden goal” in the 1-0 victory over Canada in the Final.
Lindsay Tarpley Snow
A two-time Olympic gold medal winner and a member of the U.S. Youth National Teams from U-14 through U-19, it was Tarpley's historic "Golden Goal" that won the inaugural 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Cup, the first FIFA event held at that age level. Tarpley went on to score 32 goals in 125 games for the USWNT, including one in the quarterfinal of the 2008 Olympic Games. She also scored against Brazil in the 2004 Olympic Final in Athens, Greece, helping the USA to that gold medal. She was also a member of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup team.