Highland News Leader

HHS soccer product Ferguson looking forward to freshman year at Southwestern Illinois College

Jaqlyn Ferguson spent her spring running the field and scoring goals for the Highland Lady Bulldogs soccer team.

In just a couple of months, Ferguson will transfer her scoring and playmaking skills down the road to Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville to play for the Blue Storm.

As her time at Highland High School has ended, Ferguson has been enjoying the freedom of summer so far.

“It’s been good and I have able to have some fun so far,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson signed her letter of intent to play with SWIC back in February and said, although she had strong interest from Kaskaskia College and Webster University, SWIC was best choice for her.

“I had Webster contacting me and Kaskaskia was a huge one that was back and forth and SWIC was huge and I just decided on SWIC because the girls are more competitive (play-wise) and I’m excited (about going there),” Ferguson said.

As the summer has heated up, Ferguson has balanced free time with work and working out on her own along with doing a workout packet SWIC coach Juergen Huettner has given her to use in prep for the fall season.

“I try to get up every morning and run two miles and I’m also doing a couple of days of touches (with the ball) at the stadium and pretty soon I will be doing some lifting at Alpha Fitness in Highland,” Ferguson said.

In addition to the workouts, Ferguson has been playing in a summer league with the Blue Storm players and the every-other-weekend games are giving her a good feel for how the club plays. Additionally, Ferguson is getting to know her new teammates before fall practice begins.

“We have a summer league going on with the SWIC team that takes place at Althoff Catholic High School and we have a game every other week,” Ferguson said. “It’s really going to help (me) make a connection with the girls before the season.”

Ferguson was Highland’s offensive force this spring, scoring a team-high 11 goals — including three game-winners — while collecting three assists and 25 points. Highland coach Josh Oswald believes Ferguson can crack the starting lineup and be productive wherever the Blue Storm staff decides to use her.

“The best thing about Jaqlyn is she’s going to be adaptable so wherever Juergen sees fit for her to play, really she can play anywhere on the field,” Oswald said. “Really, I think she’s going to do fine and I think she’s going to have to compete (for playing time) but I think she’s got a good chance of getting in the top 11.”

Academically, Ferguson plans on majoring in pediatric occupational therapy after spending one or two years at SWIC. Ferguson eventually hopes to transfer to McKendree after her time with SWIC.

That said, Ferguson’s goal for this fall is to get on the field and help SWIC stay in the win column as much as possible.The Blue Storm had a strong season in 2018-19, going 16-6-2.

“Oh gosh, I have always dreamed about being able to play at the college level and just to be able to play this year is very exciting for me,” Ferguson said. “I love a challenge.”