HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Esmeralda Figueroa – "Esmo" as she's known at Northeast Jones – was named first-team all-state this season.
But the forward is a star off the field as well, recently being named one of Mississippi's Wendy's High School Heisman finalists.
"I feel very blessed from a lot of people," Figueroa said. "God has really had a huge impact. Luke 1:37 says, 'With Him there's nothing impossible.' Without Him, there's no way that my dad would have the want to train me, make me get up in the morning and go run when nobody's doing it, and make me do things that I didn't want to do. They've always had a huge impact and I believe that I got this honor because of all of them."
Her stats on the pitch are impressive – 53 goals this season and 155 career goals, which ties Morgan Mansell for the Northeast Jones record.
Figueroa's stats off the field aren't bad either – the senior ranks ninth in her class with a 4.0 grade-point-average.
"Her teammates voted her as a captain this year, along with two other girls on our team," said Northeast Jones soccer coach Matt Reid. "They picked her because of her leadership. I think her leadership, her character really developed this year off the field."
Figueroa will continue to develop her game at the next level. She passed up several Division I offers to sign a scholarship with Jones County Junior College.
"Esmo is the type of player and type of kid that doesn't come around very often," Reid said. "I think we've been blessed with her and, at the same time, I think our program has helped her develop as a player and as a kid."
"I'm going to remember that the teachers, the administrators, the coaches and all the people were really there for me and just supporting me," Figueroa said. "Always hoping that I would be something. I just have to believe in myself. I just have to let everything in and just believe. Never be satisfied, that's what my dad's taught me."