The US Soccer Team Lost A World Cup Qualifier In The Most Violent City On Earth — Here's What It's Like There

san pedro sula

Photo: AP

The US men’s national team lost its first World Cup qualifier today in the most violent city in the world — San Pedro Sula, Honduras.For a brief moment, the city officially stopped — the country declared it a national holiday — to watch its team win.

But after it was over, SPS had to deal with serious gang violence, drug trafficking, and police corruption.

San Pedro Sula is the second-largest city in Honduras with ~700,000 people

There were 159 murders per 100,000 citizens in 2011 — the highest rate in the world

So what's behind the violence?

SPS is the economic hub of Honduras because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean

Source: The Economist

But that also makes it the drug trafficking hub

Gangs, specifically the international MS-13, run rampant in the city

Source: AP

The citizens suspect the police of widespread corruption. Last year, the country passed a law that allows cops to be given lie detector tests

Source: Reuters

Very few of the crimes are solved

Despite having the highest murder rate, Honduras barely breaks the top 100 in incarceration rate

Source: Yahoo!

The US state department has a laundry list of travel warnings. They say not to go out at night, wear jewelry, or leave your hotel alone

Soccer writer Noah Davis reported yesterday that reporters were told not to go more than 200 feet from their hotel

But the country has a rich soccer culture

The Honduran team qualified for the last World Cup, and has players like Roger Espinoza who play in the English Premier League

They're pulled out all the stops for today's game. The government declared it a national holiday

They also scheduled the game at 3 p.m. in the afternoon to take advantage of the jungle heat

Almost all of the US players are based in cold European nations, and struggled in the humidity

For just a few briefs hours, San Pedro Sula shut down and watched the game

No see what soccer is like in one of the richest countries in the world

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