Twins win on and off the soccer field

Miranda Carrasco, a junior defender from Cypress, Texas, plays for the Mississippi State University soccer team during a match against Boston College during the 2019 season.

Junior fraternal twin sets Miranda and Lourdes Carrasco and Esmeralda and Araceli Figueroa both grew up with the competitiveness, yet close relationship, of a twin sister that played the same sport as them. Now, one sister from each set of twins plays on the official Mississippi State University school soccer team and one plays on the club soccer team.

The Carrasco sisters started playing soccer at the age of four in their hometown of Houston, Texas, graduated to club at the age of eight and then played throughout high school.

The competitiveness between the two sisters started early. Lourdes Carrasco has not forgotten the time in elementary school when her team played her sister's team.

"I still remember the score to this day. We got whooped 4-1, but I scored. And I played defense so my dad gave me $10 — $5 for scoring and $5 for scoring against my sister," Lourdes Carrasco said. Her sister just laughed.

In high school, Lourdes Carrasco stopped playing club and just focused on playing for her high school. Miranda Carrasco played club and varsity high school soccer and graduated a semester early to start playing soccer at MSU. 

While they are always pushing each other and competing with each other, both sisters complimented the strengths in the other's playing style. Lourdes Carrasco said her sister was quick and adept at beating players one-on-one, and Miranda Carrasco said Lourdes knows the game intellectually very well.

Lourdes and Miranda Carrasco are both studying finance with minors in real estate and said their competitiveness definitely extends into their schoolwork.

"Academically too, of course, we're very supporting and encouraging of each other. If she makes a good grade, I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, you're freaking awesome,' but I want to make a better grade," Miranda Carrasco said.

While the two are always pushing each other, they are also always proud of each other and said they know each other better than anyone else in the world.

"We're very protective of each other. We love each other so insanely much," Miranda Carrasco said.

Lourdes Carrasco said being separated from her sister at a high school church camp made her realize she wanted to go to college with her sister.

"I just told my parents that I realized I wanted to go to school with Miranda wherever she was going because I missed her so much. She's like my other half, and I literally can't imagine life without her," Lourdes Carrasco said.

Twins Esmeralda and Araceli Figueroa from Laurel, Mississippi, are remarkably similar to Miranda and Lourdes Carrasco, sharing a lifelong love for soccer and for each other.

Esmeralda Figueroa started playing soccer at the age of four or five, and her sister started playing shortly after. They played for a club team in Jackson, which was about an hour and a half away from Laurel.

Later, they played on their high school team together, and while they were always competing subconsciously against each other, they worked together on the field.

"I always played midfield, and she played forward. So we would basically help each other out. Like I would pass the ball up to her, or if we had a corner kick, I would block the defender on her like it was football. We would help each other out," Araceli Figueroa said.

Both sisters went to Jones College and played soccer there for two years. Esmeralda Figueroa's dream was to play soccer for an SEC school, but the day before MSU was supposed to come watch her play, she tore her ACL.

"I was just thinking, 'What now? What am I supposed to tell Mississippi State? They can't even come watch me. My dream is shattered. I've always wanted to play SEC,'" Esmeralda Figueroa said.

However, on the day of her surgery, Esmeralda Figueroa received a call from MSU. 

"It was a blessing from God that they called her and still wanted her," Araceli Figueroa said.

Although Araceli Figueroa had been considering going to the University of Mississippi, her sister's injury, as a well as the death of a friend, made her realize she did not want to be apart from her sister and best friend. 

"When [the friend] passed away, it put everything in perspective, like, 'Do I want to spend my next two years of life away from the people that I love?' And MSU just really felt like family when I visited and, of course, my sister being here — that's why I chose MSU," Araceli Figueroa said.

After playing at Jones, Araceli Figueroa said she was ready to hang up her cleats. When she heard about the club team however, it was a happy medium.

"You can't just play soccer your whole life and then say goodbye, so I was like, 'Yea, I miss soccer,'" Araceli said.

Lourdes and Miranda Carrasco and Araceli and Esmeralda Figueroa are all high-achieving, competitive individuals, but their love for the sport of soccer never outdoes their love for their sister.  Miranda Carrasco, echoing the sentiments of all four girls, said the cons of having a twin are outweighed by the pro of having a built-in best friend.

"It's definitely really cool to have a twin. I don't want her to hear," Miranda Carrasco said while covering her sister's ears and laughing, "but I love having a twin."

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