Sweden’s Doc Cassama Finishes Football Career in Canada

When Doc Cassama from Sweden quietly graduated from the University of Calgary last spring, he finished an outstanding five-year football career.

Born in Gambia, Cassama moved to Sweden with his family when he was seven years old and learned to play football in Kristianstad with the Predators organization. He was noticed by the University of Calgary Dinos head coach Blake Nill when he played for Sweden at the 2009 IFAF Junior World Championships in Canton, Ohio.

Since then, he has found a way to finish off a college career and get the attention of pro football teams.

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At the time, other American colleges also showed some interest in the 6’2″, 210 lb hard-hitting safety on the Swedish junior national team but Cassama fell in love with Calgary on his first visit.

“Calgary had something special and the team atmosphere was really welcoming so I decided on the University of Calgary.”

He played for the Dinos for five years – common in Canada – and the team’s overall record during that time was a stunning 42-6. They reached the Vanier Cup (Canada’s college championship game) twice in that time span.

Nill, who has moved on to the University of British Columbia now, winning the Vanier Cup in 2015, coached Cassama for four years and was impressed with him both on and off the field:

“This individual is an amazing young man who has accomplished so much. Given all of his accolades on the field, I am most proud of the young man he has become. He is a caring individual, one who’s life vison is beyond most peers of his age group. Doctor was a leader on the field for the Calgary Dinos his entire tenure, now he is becoming a larger role model off the field. He impacted my life, and will do the same to many more before his time is up.”

Heady praise indeed from one of Canada’s most successful football coaches of all time.

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He hurt his foot during the 2015 season and was unable to finish the season. But he will graduate this spring with a degree in communications. What football will hold is uncertain. As the Swedish Football Network reported, he attracted the attention of NFL teams including the Green Bay Packers who gave him a workout and the Seattle Seahawks in 2014. Although the talks eventually fizzled out, he is on their radar.

According to Jim Mullin, the voice of Canadian College Football:

“In Cassama’s case, he had an athletic skill set which worked well in the Canadian game. Speed in the open field and the ability to train up during a five-year career from defensive back to linebacker.”

The Canadian Football League is a distinct possibility and there is some interest but the fact that he is Swedish and not Canadian can work against him. The CFL has an import restriction allowing 23 international (import) players on a 44 man active roster. So Cassama is basically in a fight with American players for a roster spot. Which is not to say it is a fight he can’t win. He can play as well as anyone according to the scouts.

Whatever the future holds for Doc Cassama, he has options. And he is optimistic. One of his trademarks according to his coaches is his irrepressible grin.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.