BootsnAll Travel Network

Futbol Xelaju Style

Futbol is entirely a BIG THING down here, as Xela has their own team competing in a 10 team field comprised of cities around Guatemala.  Xelaju is celebrating their 74th anniversary, and on my first Saturday here, we headed over to the stadium to watch the team give its fans what they are looking for:  a Win.

This is something you just have to experience on your own, things are much much different here than any common outdoor spectator sports played in the United States.  The following pics were taken over the course of two games that I attended.  Here are the major BIG things to know about watching the game live in person…


  1. It is recommended that you get there early, especially if you want to premium seats.  No, they are not more expensive.  Every ticket sold at the gate is generally admission.  And the stadium does not have individual “seats”, your seat is basically a cement bleacher bench that wraps around 75% of the stadium.  And don’t think stadium high rise seating either…the top seat is probably only 15 feet high at the maximum.IMG_4626.JPG

    It is one hour before kick off in this pic…

  2. People are FANATICS when it comes to the team…wear the team colors (RED) and sit amongst other crazy fans.  If you sit in this section, you must be LOUD and jeer the opposing side.  People go all out…they bring instruments (horns, drums, etc… try bringing those noise makers into a Blazer game) and firecrackers.  Yep, firecrackers.  They light them and throw them in front of the seating section onto the field.  Sometimes the firecrackers don’t clear the wire fence, and thus you’ll have firecrackers setting off right next to the crowd of people!  I’m not that hardcore, so when I went I sat just to the right of the main Frenzy Fan Mob.IMG_4636.JPG

    Best bring your flags, colors, bandanas, jerseys, posters and whatever else represents the home team!  This is the Rowdy Section!

    People line the upper walls of the stadium for a better view at the action on the field.  They are responsible for throwing down the confetti on everyone else down below, definitely a team effort!


    Dusk falls and the team takes the field….

  3. Want more??  Then how bout colored smoke and flares and fireworks (in addition to lowly firecrackers) and confetti…the crowd is most alive when the team takes the field, once the ball is in play, and of course when they SCOOOOOOOORRRREEEEE!IMG_3859.JPG

    When we score our goals, LOOK OUT!


    Oh yeah, of course there is loud music blaring from the speakers as well!  Here you see the confetti and the lights display after a goal.

  4. The great part about watching the sport down here is what you don’t get in the U.S.  For example, little boys carrying around their shoe shine kits and hitting you up for a shoe shine while you sit and watch.  Food vendors are not part of some corporation or stadium concessions–they are little kids, old women and middle aged men hawking everything from sodas, water, candy, gum, and food made at home.  Like soups.  And tortillas stuffed with veggies or meat.  Seriously.  It was something else to watch an 80 year old lady carrying a big covered pot and pouring her drink into styrofoam cups for people to buy.  People also sold souvenir merchandise to show your support for the team.  Here I am showing off the flag that Martin bought…


  5. At halftime, it is time to use the bathrooms.  Don’t try this in Portland…if you need to piss, all you have to do is walk up to the wire fence or wall surrounding the field, unzip and take care of your business.  Which is right in front of where people sit.  It was a shock for me to see 5 or 6 guys pissing on the wall just 3 rows in front of me.  I didn’t see any women do it…then again, there weren’t too many women in the crowd.

    IMG_4644.JPGAction on the field, you watch through a wire fence that has barb wire strung along the top.  It’s not that much of a security measure, as after the game a crazy Gringo scaled the fence, took a flag and pranced and paraded along the sideline to the amusement of the locals (the guy was pretty plastered and it was kind of embarrassing to watch him).

  6. Women, single or married, will need to check their feminine fights at the door.  Whenever a woman gets up to go to the bathroom, get something to eat, or just walk though the row or aisle, catcall whistles and the like with momentarily distract the men from watching the game.  And when 5 of the women in our group got up to use the restroom together, it was a chorus of catcalls and unwanted attention.
  7. At the end of the game, when we win of course, it is time for more noise, music, fireworks and firecrackers, smoke and if the police want in on it too, then tear gas (see previous post).IMG_4651.JPG


    Mitzi looks up to check out the sky display after the win.




0 responses to “Futbol Xelaju Style”

  1. Jonas says:

    Are you sure those stadium vendors don’t work for a big corporation? That flag you’re holding suspiciously has Pepsi colors. Hmm…

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