UOG’s Men’s Soccer coach Hidalgo steps down

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Head Coach Roderick Hidalgo of the Triton Men’s Soccer Team gets ready to substitute player Tristan Paulino into the game. Photo courtesy of the University of Guam

NEWS RELEASE

A coaching career with a 65% win record and three team championships in four years has come to an end as Roderick Z. Hidalgo wraps up his time as the University of Guam’s head soccer coach. Hidalgo has coached the Triton men’s and women’s soccer teams since 2016 and is closing that chapter as he focuses more on family time and his work as a PE teacher and robotics coach at Okkodo High School.

Coach Rod did an excellent job for UOG soccer, getting both programs off the ground and leading both teams to GFA championships with an amazing win-loss record,” UOG Athletics Director Douglas Palmer said. “His coaching and leadership will be sorely missed.”

In six seasons of women’s soccer, Hidalgo led the team to 29 wins, 11 losses, and one tie. In five seasons of coaching the men’s team, he led them to 50 wins, 28 losses, and three ties for a total record of 79-39-4.  He also led both teams to the GFA Championships, including two Women’s Division II Championships in spring and fall of 2017 and the Men’s Division II Championships in the 2018–2019 season.

He did a lot to develop the individual talent in his players, Palmer said. Under his leadership, UOG players received the Golden Boot Award three times as the top scorers in their league, and two players were awarded the UOG Student Athlete of the Year Award among all Triton Athletics sports programs.

“My favorite years of playing soccer came under Coach Hidalgo and the team he put together,” said Elisha Benavente, a 2017–2019 player for the Lady Tritons and two-time Golden Boot Award winner. “I never felt like he wasn’t on my side as a coach — always fighting for me, pushing me, and believing in me.”

One of the most memorable seasons, he said, was when the Lady Tritons played all season without any, or only one, substitute players. Even with the disadvantage, the women’s team won all of their games and worked hard from start to finish, Hidalgo said.  “The experience has been a great learning opportunity for growth. It is like going to school at the university,” Hidalgo said. “I look forward to the Triton Athletics program reaching its peak.”

Hidalgo has a total of 30 years of coaching experience on his resume, coaching youth, middle school, and high school teams. He also played himself for 27 years on Guam, from Simon Sanchez High School to various club teams, leagues, and the Guam National Men’s Team. He was a UOG graduate in 1994 with a bachelor’s in education specializing in physical education, and he later earned his master’s in exercise science from California University of Pennsylvania.  His time with UOG ended in March, when the COVID-19 outbreak ended the sports seasons early.

Seeking next men’s soccer coach
The women’s soccer team is now being coached by Gary Larkin, but the University of Guam’s Triton Athletics program is seeking the next head coach for the men’s soccer team. Applicants must send a cover letter, athletics resume, and three references to Athletics Director Palmer at [email protected]. Interviews will begin June 15. Call (671) 735-2862 for more information.