Soccer team’s leading scorer to return

Rodrigo Hidalgo, the USF soccer team’s leading scorer last season, has decided to return to the Bulls, retracting a March decision to transfer to Boston College.

“I just thought I wouldn’t be the same anywhere else,” Hidalgo said. “I feel the University of South Florida is offering me the best that could be offered right now.”

Hidalgo, 17, said he made the decision during a recent visit to Boston College.

“It just kind of hit me,” said Hidalgo, who will be a sophomore next season. “I said ‘Wow, I really miss my friends and my teammates back home, and I just can’t be without them.’ I feel that the University of South Florida has become my home now. I realized that when I was gone I had a lot here and I just couldn’t turn my back on it.”

Coach George Kiefer responded to Hidalgo’s return with open arms, saying the forward had “went through a lot of things over some time.”

“I’m happy that he’s going to stay,” Kiefer said. “I didn’t want to get too low when he left because we have a lot of talent in the program. And I don’t want to get too high with him coming back. But I didn’t want to see him go, so I’m happy he’s staying.”

According to Hidalgo, his teammates are welcoming his return.

“I just really think that I can help out a lot and think they can help me out a lot,” said Hidalgo, who scored six goals last season and was the only player to start every game. “So I think the excitement is from both parties.”

Hidalgo earlier said his reasoning for wanting to leave USF was that he “just wasn’t helping the team.”

Now that attitude has changed.

“I just decided to do what’s best for me and hopefully what’s best for the team,” he said. “Hopefully, I can play a big part and help build something bigger than we have already accomplished.”