Advice for Attending a Soccer Game in El Salvador
Last night I went to see the El Salvador National Soccer team play against Haiti. Now I have been to other soccer games, here in El Salvador and in Costa Rica, but they were nothing compared to last night in Vietnam, as they call the section where we sat. I went with a group of people from church, mostly pastors, and we paid $3.00 a ticket to watch two games. The first game was the Sub 20 National teams of El Salvador and Mexico. So here is my advice if you are going to watch a game in El Salvador and sit in general admission.
1.) Wear an EL Salvador Selecta Shirt
You might think that wearing a shirt that is the same color as the team is good enough, it is not. We arrived early enough that, thankfully, we were only yelled at. However, as more people came the 500+ people in general admission would all stand up and start yelling all kinds of things and throwing everything under the son until the person is soaking wet and removes their shirt, whether you are a women or man. The guys would take the shirts off but the none of the girls did however they were drenched with beer and water as they tried to get a seat.
2.) Sit as close to the top as possible
The closer to the top the less chance of being hit with something or soaked in water or beer.
3.) Don't let hundreds of police dressed in riot gear give you a sense of security
You would think that having that many police would make you feel secure; wrong. We sat and watched a huge fight start and we jumped behind a police for protection and he said, "We aren't going to do anything until they start hitting one another." That did eventually happen and the police did arrest some people. I was shocked at how far the Police allowed things to get.
4.) Do every single cheer/dance/ect.
If you don't do the cheers, the wave, or all the other crazy things that they do you, in turn will be the bad guy and have stuff thrown at you.
5.) Don't sit in general admission if you look like you could be a supporter of the opposing team.
This one group of Salvadorans came in but a black guy was with them. He was hispanic but not from El Salvador. Of course because they were playing Haiti you can imagine the things they said to that poor guy. They yelled at him until he took his shirt off, soaked him down, and hit him as the police watched and did nothing. One of the men sitting near to us told me if I come to see USA play against El Salvador I should spend more money and buy a ticket on the other side for my safety. That is some good advice but I think it would be better to stay home and watch that one.
Besides all the craziness it was a cultural experience that I will never forget. Even though I felt my life was in danger, at times, I had a blast and El Salvador won 1-0.