Ranking Top Ten Best Jamaican Soccer Players in Europe Ever
Jamaica is a small nation without a massive population. They are thus at a disadvantage when it comes to sports like soccer, where they often find themselves competing against teams like the United States. Still, Jamaica has managed to make the World Cup before and produces some soccer talent that goes on to contribute in locations around the world.
Europe is typically where the best soccer players on the planet head. It is the continent with the most soccer money, the most coverage from the media and sports betting sites, and the biggest clubs. While not many Jamaican players have dominated at this level, there have been some that have gone on to have strong careers. Let’s look at the ten best Jamaican soccer players in Europe of all time.
Wes Morgan has found his way to success by catching on with Leicester City in the Premier League. The strong Jamaican defender started his career in the First Division with Nottingham Forest, but in 2011, he found himself with Leicester. He has made hundreds of appearances with this team and been with them as they journeyed from the Championship to the Premier League Champions.
While Jamaica won’t be present at the 2022 World Cup, if they were, soccer fans would be looking out for Leon Bailey. The young dynamo has had an interesting start to his career, shining in the Belgian soccer league for Genk and the Bundesliga for Bayer Leverkusen. Bailey now finds himself in the Premier League competing for Aston Villa. While he hasn’t lived up to expectations there, he is young and talented.
Frank Sinclair had an incredibly long soccer career in England, stretching from 1990-2016. While it wasn’t all at the highest level, it is amazing this defender was able to stick around this long. He played in the Premier League for clubs like Chelsea and Leicester City for a number of years and, while born in England, made several international appearances for Jamaica.
Deon Burton was a diminutive striker that had a long soccer career across English levels. He was a big reason that Jamaica qualified for the 1998 World Cup, but domestically, he had some strong seasons for Premier League clubs like Derby County and Portsmouth while also playing in secondary divisions as well. He had a long and fruitful career.
Gil Heron was born in Kingston and toiled away in leagues across Canada and the United States. While his career in Europe was short, his significance to the game can’t be overstated. After being discovered in an exhibition, Heron became the first black player to make an appearance for Celtic in Scotland.
Theodore Whitmore is a legendary Jamaican player that has also managed the international team for multiple stints; he also helped the team qualify for the World Cup as a player. Domestically, his career was solid, playing for Hull City and the Tranmere Rovers in England. He was a tall midfielder.
Ricardo Gardner was a left-winger and left-wing-back that was born in Jamaica and played almost the entirety of his career in England. Gardner made his mark playing for the Bolton Wanderers, who were a Premier League team for much of his time with the club. He made 342 appearances with the Wanderers and scored 20 goals.
Luton Shelton is most famous for his international exploits for Jamaica, as he was the top scorer of all time for them at the time of his untimely passing from ALS. Domestically, Shelton played across Europe for teams in the UK, Denmark, Turkey, and Russia, where he was a solid and talented striker and left-winger. He is a legendary figure in Jamaica for his international success.
Rudolph Austin is a midfielder that last played in 2021 and served as the captain of Jamaica’s national team. He experienced some international success with Jamaica, and his domestic career has been solid as well. He captained Leeds United briefly and played in both the Danish and Norwegian soccer leagues. While he never made any appearances in the Premier League, he was a solid player that was an asset to every team he played on.
While he was born in London, Adrian Mariappa has made 63 national appearances for Jamaica, as his mother is Jamaican. Mariappa has been a solid defender for teams across the United Kingdom, spending most of his career with Watford, who he has made almost 300 appearances with. He has also played with Reading and Crystal Palace. He is still playing, although he is no longer competing at the Premier League level. He most recently played in the Australian and New Zealand top league. Mariappa and Jamaica will not be present at the World Cup this year, but his career continues.