“El Matador” Arizona’s Long Snapper Jose Romero is living the Dream

By administrator1 November 15, 2015 23:24

By Francisco Romero

Arizona Wildcats’ senior long snapper Jose Romero’s last game at Arizona Stadium was Saturday night, a double overtime 37-30 win over No. 10 Utah.

Arizona and Romero still have a game or two to play; against ASU next week and a possible bowl game as Arizona improved its record to 6-5 becoming bowl eligible this season.

Saturday’s Arizona double overtime victory resembles Romero’s career.

A kid from Cancun, Mexico whose only chance to play at the highest level of the sport was to leave his country, his parents and everything he had known for 16 years.

Romero’s Dad, Jose Sr. is a football Hall of Famer in Mexico and he was the one who encouraged his son to follow his dream, “My dad told me that if I wanted to continue my football playing career beyond high school, I had to move to the United States,” Romero told us.

And so he did, at 16 he took his chances and moved to Phoenix, Arizona with his mom’s best friend enrolling at Mountain Pointe High School.

“It wasn’t easy,” said Romero, “After my first high school football practice I was destroyed physically and emotionally; I remember calling my parents and telling them I wanted to go back home.”

His parents convinced him to stay in Phoenix for a month and if things didn’t work out, then he would be allowed to go back.

“Things got easier after a while,” said Romero. “I made friends, made the football team and my love for football grew.”

Romero was Mountain Pointe’s second-string quarterback; he once complained about his team’s long snapper’s error that led to a defeat and was challenged by his coach to do better.

He took the challenge and became the team’s long snapper.

After Romero’s high school career ended he enrolled and made the team at Glendale Community College.

Although he was not offered a scholarship to play at a Division I school after his playing days at Glendale Community College his dream of playing at the highest level in the country continued.

Romero was assured by his coaches that he was good enough to continue playing football and he enrolled at the University of Arizona and walked-on the team.

He made the team.

“I have had an amazing experience at the University of Arizona, not only on the football field, but academically it has bee excellent, I only wish I could have been here for four years,” said Romero.

Amongst the many satisfactions on the field for Romero, a couple that stand out are from the game against Washington last season; first he snapped a fake field goal that led to a score by kicker Casey Skowron on 4th and 4, and he also snapped a last second field goal that gave the Wildcats 27-26 victory.

After his heroics actions against Washington, Romero was nick-named “El Matador” by the media in the UA press box.

“I like the nickname,” said Jose. “Actually the first known bull-fighter’s name was Francisco Romero and my second name is Francisco,” he added.

Romero is also very proud of belonging to last year’s Arizona’s Fiesta Bowl team.

Picture Courtesy: Arizona Athletics

Picture Courtesy: Arizona Athletics

Academically Romero is on target for finish with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in Business Administration, graduating with honors.

Last January he was named the University of Arizona’s student-athlete of the month.

During the summer as his dad, who played for the Autonomous University of Mexico, was inducted into the Mexican Football Hall of Fame, Romero Jr. was awarded Mexico’s Golden Helmet as the best Mexican football player abroad.

“We are very proud of our son,” said Romero Sr. “He has been away from home since he was 16, he as grown up and matured while living his dream.”

“That was the hardest part of my journey,” said the long snapper. “Leaving home and leaving my parents, at the end those sacrifices made me a stronger person.”

Away from home Romero is thankful for his United States parents as he calls them, Georgia and Rob Latham welcomed him with open arms in Phoenix, “They are my second parents,” said Romero, “Rob and I had some good talks that made me mature and grow as a man.”

After this season Romero doesn’t plan to stop playing football, “I am looking forward to participating in the NFL Pro Day in February or March, I need to focus on adding a little bit of weight and continue training.”

Romero’s college career may be in overtime, but who knows, we may see him play in the first quarter of his NFL career come August.

Why not?

By administrator1 November 15, 2015 23:24

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