Photo/James Pugh

Score 53 goals in a single season, and its bound to get noticed.

Northeast Jones girls soccer standout Esmeralda Figueroa has been named a finalist for the 2017 Wendy’s High School Heisman award in Mississippi. The winner of the prestigious award will be announced during a banquet luncheon at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in Jackson, Miss. on April 19.

“I never thought I would be at the point,” said Figueroa. “I had always hoped to be, but I never thought I would be a finalist for the Wendy’s High School Heisman award.”

The senior forward finished with 155 goals during her career at Northeast Jones. She tied with former teammate Morgan Mansell with the most ever in school history.

“The list goes on with ways she has been recognized,” said Northeast Jones head soccer Matt Reid. “And she deserves every bit of the recognition. I think she is used to it now with all the banquets, awards, offers, and scholarships. That comes with the territory of scoring 53 goals in a season. She’s also been named MAC All-Star and so on [for her accomplishments on the field].”

Figueroa was also named Sports601’s Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

If she wins the award, Figueroa will be granted a 1,000 dollar college scholarship. One girl and one boy from each state win the award every year. Those winners have a shot at being a national finalist and will receive an additional 5,000 dollar scholarship. The overall national winner is awarded a 10,000 dollar college scholarship.



The “intangibles” as Reid says is what also made his senior forward a star during the 2017-2018 season.

“It was the things that can’t be put on a stat line,” Reid noted. “It was the leadership and character and her taking ownership and realizing it was her last go around here at NEJ. Not only did she do all those great individual things, I think she made her teammates better in other ways.”

One of this year’s other Mississippi finalists is a travel ball teammate of Figueroa.

“Aubree Dillon is a finalist that I know,” said Figueroa. “She is from Madison-Ridgeland Academy (MRA), and she is a teammate of mine in RUSH. She’s a great player as well.”

Figueroa signed with JCJC women’s soccer last month. She chose the Lady Bobcats over several D1 colleges, including Northwestern State and Southern Miss, and four-year universities such as William Carey, SUNY Farmingdale State in New York, West Alabama and West Florida just to name a few.

She will join her sister, Araceli Figueroa at JCJC. Both made their decision public inside Northeast Jones’ Media Center on February 26.

“I’m going to keep working hard and training,” said Figueroa. “I’m going to believe in myself and keep doing what I’m doing.”