The Mission’s a Soccer Fan Magnet

World Cup fans at La Boheme. Photo by Cristina Abellan-Matamoros.

World Cup fans at La Boheme. Photo by Cristina Abellan-Matamoros.

They come by BART or car or foot. For many non-locals, making a trip to the Mission to watch the World Cup is the next best thing to being in Brazil.

Potrero Hill-resident Brad Rothenberg drove about 1.6 miles to Gestalt Haus on 16th Street to watch the Germany versus Ghana game on June 22. Rothenberg said he mostly does his soccer-viewing in the Mission.

“People are nice and friendly; it’s always good to come here.”

Read our guide to soccer-viewing in the Mission, here.

Rafael Dividillo watched the same Germany-Ghana match, but over at the dive bar Kilowatt, also on 16th.

“The vibe is better than watching at home,” said Dividillo, who took BART in from South San Francisco.

Latinos make up 39 percent of the Mission District—still the highest concentration in San Francisco, according to the 2010 census. The historically Mexican neighborhood remains a favorite spot to watch games for Latinos living in the Bay Area.

Even Latinos who don’t live in the Mission make the trek. Eli Corral, who is originally from Mexico, comes from Daly City by BART for all the matches.

Eli Corral, soccer fan. Photo by Cristina Abellan-Matamoros.

Eli Corral, soccer fan. Photo by Cristina Abellan-Matamoros.

For Corral, there is no other place in San Francisco that represents the Latino community like the Mission does.

Being able to share her enthusiasm with other Mexicans is what compels her to ride BART for every game. “The Mission is the Latino environment; here you feel like you’re in Mexico,” Corral said.

At La Boheme Café on 24th and Mission, a vivid portrayal of World Cup community was easily seen. Ann Golden walks from her house in Bernal Heights to watch every game there.

“I love being among the different people who are rooting for the different teams,” Golden said.

Last Saturday, there was what appeared to be a large Latino crowd—a sea of green congregated to watch Mexico against Holland. Yet a handful of orange garments stuck out.

Anais Arias-Aragón was rooting for Mexico, who lost to the Dutch.

Born in Peru, Arias-Aragón grew up in the Mission but later moved to Oakland. She said she hasn’t found the Mission’s thrill for soccer anywhere else in the Bay Area.

“What I like the most about watching World Cup games in the Mission is that the Latino community gets together and we all support one another.”

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