Jose Gallardo had a big decision to make.

His choices were to try to make it as a professional soccer player in Mexico right out of high school or attend NCAA Division II Sonoma State.

The former Righetti star, who graduated from there in the spring, opted to attend Sonoma State.

However, he will not be playing soccer there. At least not during his freshman year.

"My class schedule there would conflict with practice," Gallardo, who played center attacking midfielder and left wing at Righetti, said by phone.

"I have a big lab class from 8 a.m., to 3 p.m. in the afternoon. I would have missed practice two or three times a week."

Gallardo played on the Righetti varsity his junior and senior years. He said he will receive some financial aid from Sonoma State in order to go there.

He said he wants to make sure he's adapted to college academics before he adds playing intercollegiate soccer to his schedule.

"I will try to play during the next three years after this," he said. "I just don't want to affect my GPA early on.

"Everyone says college is hard," Gallardo said.

Gallardo was Righetti's leading scorer and team MVP this past season, and he was an All-PAC 8 League First Team member.

He was good enough to attract attention from the professional soccer program in Mexico. Earlier this summer, he told the Times he was mulling over whether or not to sign a contract this summer to play professional soccer in Mexico.

Gallardo has three sisters, two who have graduated from high school and one who is in elementary school.

He told the Times earlier that his father, Jose Sr., would move with him to Mexico if he signed to play there and that his mother, Olga, and younger sister might move there.

"It's a big decision to live in a totally different country," Gallardo told the Times when he was in the process of making his decision. "I can't just think of myself. I also have to consider my family, and I want to keep my little sister going to school in Santa Maria."

For now, any possible professional soccer aspiration for Jose Gallardo Jr. is on the back burner.

"I'll wait it out and see if it happens in the future," he said. "Just not right now."

For now, his major is undeclared. The younger Jose Gallardo did tell the Times earlier that he wants to own his own business some day. 

"I'm thinking about declaring a business major, but classes are impacted for business now," he said.  

"It would be impossible to finish in four years." 

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Sports Reporter