Stephen Bates, the reigning Gulf Coast Athletic Conference boys soccer player of the year, might enroll at the University of South Florida next semester to play for the Bulls when he receives his official release from Radford University.
Bates, who had 25 goals and eight assists last season for Springstead, accepted a scholarship to play for the western Virginia school, but returned home to Spring Hill this fall after only three days.
"He went there and just apparently didn't like it," his father, Kris Bates, said. "It was against my advice he decided to come home. I told him to stay a semester. I don't know if he was homesick or what."
Bates, who is attending Pasco-Hernando Community College, said he became ill soon after arriving in Radford, lost 12 pounds and "couldn't take it anymore."
"I'm not disappointed," he said. "I know I can go back and play college soccer somewhere."
Bates said he is reassessing some of the programs that recruited him out of high school _ the University of Tampa, Central Florida, Jacksonville University, Lynn University _ although no coaches can contact him until he is released by Radford. Kris Bates said that form, which he expects soon, to be sent directly to USF.
_ Compiled by Brant James.