USF men’s soccer standout forward Rodrigo Hidalgo is leaving the program for a northern soccer program at Boston College.
Last week, Hidalgo filed his release papers and will be transferring at the end of the spring semester.
The freshman — who only turned 17 at the beginning of the 2004 season — led the 10-5-2 soccer team in scoring with 18 points on six goals and six assists and was the only player to start every game.
But the Atlantis native stated his decision to leave the team reflects none of the players or the coaching staff, but it is just something he felt he had to do.
“You know, I’ve been playing soccer in Florida my whole life,” said Hidalgo, who will join fellow U-17 National Team forward Charlie Davies. “I needed a change for myself and so did the team. I just had no desire to play for a while and I didn’t know why and I don’t know if it’s because I’ve played (in Florida) my whole life. I know I wanted to play with people I like.”
Coach George Kiefer says he will miss his player, but at the same time knows that he will do well in his new surroundings.
“I really evaluated the team at the end of the season and thought he was happy and excited to be here, but he told me he wanted change, and I’m not going to keep him here if he’s unhappy,” Kiefer said. “Rigo is a very mature player for his age and I think he would have told me more over the break about not being happy, but he’s going up there and playing with Charlie Davies, a player he’s played with for a long time, and I’d hate to match up against that team with those up front.
“When I talked to Rigo, I told him I wouldn’t want to release a player, especially one as good as he is, to a team where I’m going to him year in and year out.”
In January, Hidalgo’s teammate — and best friend — Christian Jimenez was selected 14th overall in the second round of the MLS Super Draft by the Los Angeles expansion team, Club Deportivo Chivas. But while neither Hidalgo nor Kiefer would comment on whether Jimenez’s decision to leave for the MLS was a deciding factor in Hidalgo’s departure to another school, Hidalgo did express that he thought his attitude was disrupting the team’s overall goal.
“I thought my attitude was hurting the team more than helping it,” Hidalgo said. “I was thinking about myself, and the team will get better without me. I’ve made room for other players that will do just as well as I did. To be honest, I just wasn’t helping the team.”