Rome Douglas: The man who crossed borders to play

Rome Douglas is one of those rare football players in the history of American Football who did not just stick to their country. Their love for the game and skills took them beyond boundaries.

When young Rome was a student at the Claremont High School in Southern California, he wanted to be a basketball player like his dad, who was pretty much a legend from the Memphis State Basketball team. The first All-American from his state, James Douglas, however never forced the sport on his son.

Identified early by his school coach for his agility, strength, and flexibility, Rome was almost instantaneously selected for the school team. As an All-American high school football player representing Claremont High School it was not long before he got noticed by coaches from all over the US.

Rome, soon renamed Big Rome owing to his colossal build standing at 6’7”, joined the University of Southern California with a scholarship in football. The USC, generally known in the sports world as one of the few universities in the US that focuses on sports for students, was perhaps the best place Rome could have found himself in.

Once the college team realized his potential, he was a regular on the USC Trojans team. He played for his university in the Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Sun Bowl and even ended up being a part of the winning team on PAC 10 in 1995.

The obvious next step for Rome was to join one of the NFL teams, but an injury in the first season soon put him out of action. It was then that an overseas arrangement clicked for Rome and he shifted to NFL Europe. His first season was with Berlin Thunder and the next one was with Barcelona Dragons.

A USC Trojan by heart, Rome Douglas is one of those rare American footballers to have crossed national boundaries to represent professional football clubs even in Canada and Europe. Rome also played at the NFL World Bowl in Amsterdam in 2000, which is a rare feat for any American footballer.

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