News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. May 4, 2022: Three Jamaicans currently play in the English Premier League, but there is no shortage of Jamaicans plying their trade in English football as the total, including for all four English divisions, is now at 24. Let’s take a look at some of the Jamaican players currently having the biggest impact in the English Premier League.
Michail Antonio was born in Wandsworth, London, and initially hoped to play for England at an international level, but crucially remained on the bench when called up in 2016. This meant he could still represent Jamaica after obtaining his Jamaican passport. The 32-year-old made his debut for Jamaica in the 3-0 defeat against Panama in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification fixture on September 5th, 2021. He plays for West Ham United in the Premier League and is the club’s all-time Premier League goalscorer. Antonio is now a regular for Jamaica, although his three goals in the World Cup qualifying campaign were not enough to help the nation finish higher than sixth position in the table.
Ethan Pinnock was born in Lambeth, England, and represents Jamaica by virtue of his father being Jamaican. The 28-year-old defender plays for Premier League Brentford. He made his debut for Jamaica in 2021 in a friendly international against the United States, which the Reggae Boyz lost 4-1.
Kingston-born winger Leon Bailey began his career at the Phoenix All Stars Academy. The 24-year-old played in Austria and Slovakia before starting his professional career with Genk, followed by Bayer Leverkusen. He plays for Aston Villa in the Premier League and made his debut for Jamaica against Honduras in 2019.
The popularity of soccer in Jamaica
Soccer is highly popular in Jamaica, though it does have to compete with cricket. The popularity of soccer in Jamaica reached fever pitch when the Reggae Boyz qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 1998 with Deon Burton, who played in the Premier League with Derby County at the time, contributing five goals. Jamaica was eliminated from the World Cup after finishing third in their group following defeats against Croatia and Argentina, but they did manage to win their final group game against Japan.
Nevertheless, the exploits of the Jamaica team won over soccer fans all over the world and increased the popularity of the game in Jamaica. The game has inspired a wide range of soccer-themed slots on online casinos, such as Football Star, which is available to play at the top casino apps reviewed by the review site CasinoSmash.
Jamaican-born players who have represented England
Of course, some of the greatest Jamaican-born footballers have also represented England at the international level. Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and is an England regular. Sterling recently met with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William, and Kate, on a trip to Trench Town, Kingston and took part in a football match with William.
Another Kingston-born winger is John Barnes, who was capped 79 times by the Three Lions, scoring 11 goals. His most memorable goal was in a friendly against Brazil at the Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro in 1984, when he danced around the Brazil defense to score a legendary goal in a 2-0 victory.
Jamaicans in the EFL Championship
It is also worth noting that two prominent Jamaicans playing in the EFL Championship in the form of Andre Gray, striker for Queens Park Rangers, currently on loan from Watford, and Bobby Decordova-Reid of Fulham, who will be plying his trade in the Premier League next season after the London club secured promotion to the top flight.
Jamaica has produced some impressive players who have contributed to the top flight of the English game and Jamaican-born players such as Sterling and Barnes represent two of the most talented players to ever represent the English national team.