Become a True Jamaican Football Fan
Football is the most popular sport in Jamaica, just as it is in the rest of the world. You’ll see it being played in many a blocked off street or public park, whether in an organized manner, or simply shirts against skins on a Sunday afternoon. To watch the game and participate in the exuberance of the crowd is an exhilarating experience that can only be had in Jamaica with the colorful language and palpable passion for the teams.
“Pile!!!” “Salad” ‘Shif’ di bwoy!!!” “GOAL!” This is what you’ll commonly hear from avid Jamaican football fans. A community-based sport played all over Jamaica in rural communities and city capitals alike; it brings people together from all walks of life that are unified by the love of the game. We've been playing football in Jamaica for over 100 years, but it wasn’t until 1965 that we first attempted a World Cup entry under the leadership of Brazilian coach, Jorge Penna. The formidable attempt revealed our weaknesses in away games, though we held our own at home.
In 1998, the first Caribbean country to speak English went on to the World Cup. They were aptly titled, ‘The Reggae Boys.’ They didn’t make it past the first round of competition in France, but our skills continue to increase and our love for the game is unwavering. We regularly supply players to various English and European teams, and our National Premier League is well attended at every match.
The love for the sport starts very young in Jamaica, making it many a little boy’s dream to play for the big leagues and become a football star. Whenever you see a match being played, pull up a seat and experience the liveliness of the atmosphere. If you’re able to make out the unusual and exciting language, extra points for you, but the fun is in the attempt.
- by Monique Solomon