Premier League Career: Wigan Athletic (2008-2013), Hull City (2013-2015)
Four years have passed since Maynor Figueroa’s last Premier League appearance but he has continued his career in the United States. The current captain of the Honduras international team is getting ready for another campaign in the MLS, now with Houston Dynamo. In his Premier League time, he made 179 appearances, mainly at Wigan Athletic alongside a two-season stay at Hull City after the Latics relegation from the top-flight in 2013.
Figueroa started his career with Club Deportivo Victoria before moving to Club Deportivo Olimpia in 2003. He became club captain and made exactly 100 league appearances for them. In January 2008 and after interest from several clubs in the United States and Mexico, Figueroa moved to Wigan Athletic, initially on-loan before joining permanently in December 2008. He immediately endeared himself to the Wigan supporters and scored his first-ever Premier League goal in January 2009 with a flying late header to beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 at The JJB Stadium.
Figueroa’s greatest Premier League moment was undoubtedly in December 2009. From a long-distance free-kick at Stoke’s Britannia Stadium, Figueroa spotted Thomas Sorensen off his goal-line and struck the ball towards the goal from inside his own half. He hit it absolutely perfectly and the ball flew over a red-faced Sorensen and into the net. It was simply stunning and a very deserving winner of the Match of the Day Goal of the Season for the 2009-2010 campaign.
At the end of that season, Maynor was part of the Honduras team that went to the World Cup finals in South Africa. They enjoyed their experience, even though it ended with the side failing to score in their three group matches and being eliminated before the knockout rounds. Figueroa would also be a senior figure at Honduras’ 2014 adventure in Brazil and took part in three CONCACAF Gold Cups. Figueroa has the honour too of being part of the Honduras men’s squad that took part in the football competition at the 2012 Olympic Games in London as one of the three over-23 Honduran players that were allowed by the regulations. As of March 2019, Figueroa is one cap shy of the magical 150-cap mark for Honduras having made his debut for his country in 2003. He has five goals to his name.
The 2010-2011 Premier League season was a trickier campaign for Figueroa but he still came up with two critical moments. In March 2011, he scored a stoppage-time winner against fellow strugglers Birmingham City. It was a crucial goal as Wigan ultimately survived and Birmingham were relegated. On the final day of the season, Wigan still needed a win to guarantee Premier League safety and again at Stoke, Figueroa did the damage. It was his surging run on the left-hand side and beautiful cross into the penalty area that allowed Hugo Rodallega to score the only goal of the game with 12 minutes left to play.
Figueroa continued to shine for the Latics and has an FA Cup winner’s medal in his collection from their shock victory in the 2013 final against Manchester City. Unfortunately, injured denied him a place in the final itself. Days later, a 4-1 defeat at Arsenal saw Wigan’s exciting and eventful Premier League journey come to an end after eight successive seasons. With his contract expiring, Figueroa left the club that summer.
He joined newly-promoted Hull City, who were managed by Steve Bruce, the man who brought Figueroa to this country during his days as Wigan boss. He played 32 times in the Premier League as the Tigers finished 16th to achieve Premier League safety and for the second successive season, was part of a squad that reached the FA Cup final.
Having been injured in 2013, Figueroa was in the matchday squad in 2014 but an unused substitute in Arsenal’s 3-2 victory over Hull. Bruce decided to change his formation to a 3-5-2 setup and therefore, preferred a third centre-back, his son Alex to play instead of Figueroa. He probably didn’t know it at the time but it was the beginning of the end of his time at Hull.
He returned to Wigan on-loan in October 2014 before being recalled two months later by Bruce. Hull were relegated and with just three league appearances made all season, it wasn’t a great surprise to see the Honduran released at the end of the season. He joined Colorado Rapids in August 2015 and has since gone on to play for FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo, joining the latter in January 2019.