Cranford, Middlesex born centre forward Fred “Sunny” Rouse began his football career with Southall in 1898 and became Wycombe Wanderers’ first professional player after he joined them in 1899, a spell which included a goal in the 1902 final of the Berks and Bucks Senior Cup in a 3-0 win over Slough Town at Maidenhead. He also played for Shepherds Bush in 1901 and had a spell with Southern League Brentford in 1902 before signing for First Division Grimsby Town in January 1903, making his Football League debut at Middlesbrough in March 1903. He scored twice in 6 games over the remainder of the season, however Grimsby were relegated, but he became a regular in their first eleven in the Second Division, top scoring in 1903-04 with 13 goals from 33 appearances, before moving to First Division Stoke in April 1904 for £150.
He was a consistent goalscorer with Stoke over his time in the Potteries, and was twice selected to represent The Football League, first playing in a 4-0 win over The Irish League in Manchester in October 1905, and again exactly a year later in a 6-0 win over the same opponents in Belfast, scoring once in that win. With Stoke looking for vital funds they decided to cash in on Rouse in November 1906 selling him to Everton for a fee of £600 after 26 goals in 73 appearances, however he failed to settle on Merseyside and returned to London joining Chelsea in October 1907 for £850 after 2 goals in only 10 appearances for The Toffees.
He had 2 seasons at Stamford Bridge, scoring 11 goals in 42 appearances, before joining West Bromwich Albion in May 1909 for £250, but he only played 5 times for The Baggies, scoring twice, before moving on to Southern League Croydon Common in October 1910 for £75, where he scored 6 times in 12 appearances over the rest of 1910-11 in Southern League and FA Cup games. In September 1911 he re-joined Brentford, scoring 5 goals in 11 appearances, before joining non league Slough Town in February 1912, where he finished his career.