Story by Drew Gregory
He is easy to spot from a distance, with his familiar “Cali Swag,” usually wearing a tall tee nearly reaching his knees with his Dickey shorts and low cut Chuck Taylors. Normal attire even in the coldest of weather, his long black hair nearly reaching the middle of his back flows like a lion’s mane behind him and his native tattoos make him look like a warrior from his homeland. Fellow students and opposing teams find him intimidating.
Rami Reed grew up in American Samoa and Oakland, California, both considered tough areas to grow up in for different reasons. These helped mold Rami who has called both places home. Rami came to MVC in the spring of 2008 out of Chabot junior college in California on a football scholarship.
American Samoa’s love of sports, especially football and rugby, helped create one of the toughest and most athletic players on MVC’s football team in 2011. Before committing to MVC, Rami lived in American Samoa until the age of 12, where he started playing rugby to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“I learned a lot from the game because my father was the top player in Samoa at that time,” said Rami of his father. Rami moved to Oakland, California, to live with his mother in search of a better future.
American Samoa ingrained sports into Rami’s blood. More than 30 American Samoans play in the NFL and more than 200 play NCAA division 1 college football, according to a recent 60 minutes story.
Before starting his college football career at Chabot, Rami went back to Samoa to take care of his sick grandfather. Rami graduated from high school in Samoa and spent the next few years playing on the under 21 rugby team in New Zealand and Australia,
“It was an amazing experience,” Rami said. “A different life style from there and back home. People were generous, kind and respectful because they love rugby just like me.”
Rami returned to California after his rugby playing days and decided to get an education. Rami spent two years at Chabot Junior College where he was a two-time all-Conference selection on offense before accepting a scholarship to MVC. Rami was also a two-time all-Conference selection at MVC and voted the team’s “Most Valuable Blocker” in 2010.
Rami said it was a good challenge. It was also his first time to the Midwest. “It was a good experience,” Rami said, “learning new and different things here in Missouri.”
Rami doesn’t know what he is going to do after graduation. He has a few ideas though, which include joining the Alameda Sheriff’s department or maybe going back to his job as a driver for FedEx. But he does know he will miss MVC.
“I left a small legacy over here at Missouri Valley, not only in football but I made new and great friends everywhere,” Rami said. “It’s going be hard to leave such great, amazing and wonderful memories that I had here at Valley and with my friends, but I know for sure that I will see them again.”
MVC has a history of Samoans on its football team. Soane Sevelo, Moa Palepale, Fred Solaita, and Rami Reed are some of them. All finished their playing days at MVC but the tradition doesn’t end with them. The next class to leave their mark on MVC may be Jimmy Moors and Nick Pula.