'Balla terms ah yaad yuh need fi know'
The most reliable records available indicate that football was introduced in Jamaica towards the end of the 19th century and 1893 is listed as the year Jamaica formed its first football club.
Over the years, the popularity of the game has grown significantly and it is arguably the most popular sport in the Jamaica today.
This combined with Jamaicans’ well-known fondness of coming up with unique terms to express themselves have spawned a host of different expressions associated with the sport that are only used in the island. Below are the meanings of some of the most commonly-used footballl expressions in Jamaica that you need to know if you intend to engage the locals in conversation about the sport.
1. PILE - This is a popular football move where one player passes the ball over the head of an opponent and retains possession. This move can also be executed in money football but requires a great deal of skill.
2. SALAD - A football move where one player passes the ball between the legs of an opposing player. This is similar to a 'nutmeg' in bloody England.
3. BRUKKY BOO - term used to describe a skilful dribbler who has the capacity to dribble past several defenders and score
4. BOX BALL - A juice box stuffed with soft material such as paper and with corners and edges crushed and rounded off.
5. SHIFT - A term used to describe the subtle shimmying of the hips to deceive an opposing player as you leave him in your wake.
6. CUT - that brilliant football move that involved a player suddenly shimmying and changing direction after running at breakneck speed to discombobulate an opposing player, often 'cutting him outta his shorts' as he slides impotently by while you race towards goal.
7. INNA THE PIGEON - used to describe a goal of remarkable skill and quality, often from a kick over 18 yards out which nestles in the postage stamp area below the crossbar and into the net, most often out of the reach of a desperately wretched, diving, flailing goalkeeper.
8. RUX - term used to describe a football player of middling skill and acumen. It is a term used to describe footballers who are over-rated and purport to be more special than they actually are in real life. In fact, they suck!
9. MONEY FOOTBALL - One of the favourite past-times of idle high schoolers is the game of money football that can be played pretty much anywhere: a tabletop, desktop, or benchtop game. The game approximates real football using a small coin as the ball and larger coins as the players, and requires deft precision and more than a slippery grasp of the fundamentals of Mathematics and Physics. The core equipment necessary to play money football: Two large coins, a small coin and a pair of used fudge sticks (hopefully not with too many teethmarks). When the player is ready to attempt a shot, one bawls out SET!
10. SALAD-A-KICK - barbaric version of a recess game where a player is relentlessly kicked by his peers if he suffers the indignity of a 'salad', the ball passing between his legs. There is some relief for the player if he can get a previously agreed upon safety point where the kicks will cease once he arrives.
11. RAIN BALL - is the most glorified version of informal football in Jamaica - a time-honoured tradition to play football while the heavens open and water down their 'holy tears'. There is nothing like performing a deft move that can send an opposing player slipping across a muddy field, and don't forget those bone-crunching tackles condemning your opponent to eat dirt and drink muddy water, perhaps teeming with a billion microbes. Ah the joys of childhood!
12. KEEP UP - a simple game of juggling the ball with friends.