I read in the newspaper that the Santiago Wanderers of Valparaíso were going to have a game on Saturday, February 9th. I had learned a little about the Wanderers as it seemed to be everyone’s favorite team. They are the oldest team still playing in Latin America, and many people take pride in that fact. In fact, it is difficult to walk in the city and not see a green Wanderer’s Jersey. I was impressed by the fan base the team had despite being relegated to the Second Chilean Division in 2017.
My family decided to visit their home stadium which holds upwards of 20,000 people. After the visit to the stadium, my family decided we definitely wanted to go and watch a game there.
However, getting tickets proved to be a challenge. The guards at the stadium explained to us that game tickets were only sold at the small Wanderers clothing store downtown. Luckily we had visited the store earlier so we knew where it was. When we arrived at the shop we were directed to a barred doorway where we were asked for identification. We had to go back to get our passports. We got the expensive tickets so that we would not be in danger.
We went to the game on a sunny Sunday afternoon. We saw many armed guards wearing full padding and ready with riot shields surrounding the stadium. As we entered they patted everyone down so that noisemakers or explosives wouldn’t be brought into the game. However even as the players were warming up some people had managed to smuggle flares and fireworks into the game and were lighting them on fire as they sang and danced. They had many loud drums which they played continuously for almost the whole game.
The Wanderers are not the best team as they got relegated in 2017 to the Second division in Chile. However, they are the oldest team in South America that is still playing and their fans take a lot of pride in that. The soccer game was extremely physical at some points looking like a wrestling match. The Wanderers scored a very nice goal on a free kick outside the box. The Wanderers goalie made several mistakes but the other team never scored even when the keeper rolled it out to the opposing teams striker.
In all 8,000 people attended the game and there were almost no fans from the opposing team so there were no problems as we exited the stadium and boarded the busses. It was a good experience. We hope to go to another game and this time sit in the real fan section, instead of the calm one that costs more money.