Their team lost, but Haitian fans felt proud.
The 2-1 defeat against defending World Cup champion Spain was unexpected, especially after Spain’s two early goals.
Haitian-born Kara Ferrier, 30, a lawyer who lives in Davie, attended the match with her husband to see their national team for the first time. Just 30 minutes before the end of the match, with Haiti down 2-0, she was excited.
“I thought this was going to be a massacre, but they are holding their own. It’s awesome,” she said.
When Haiti scored a little bit later, the crowd erupted. Earlier in the match, the Haitian fans were fairly quiet, but once Haiti scored they began to sing louder, dancing to the drums of a music band.
In the end, Ferrier and many other Haitian supporters left the stadium with a smile on their faces.
Haiti president Michel Martelly was among the crowd and some of his countrymen took the chance to express their support but also to complain.
One of the protesters was Joseph Joan, 28, who was yelling at the president when he was leaving the stadium surrounded by bodyguards.
Joan, a chef in West Palm Beach, said he is angry with the fees he pays for sending remittances to his relatives in Haiti and wanted the president to know.
“I work hard, and I would like to know why I get charged so much every time I send money to my family,” Joan said.
The friendly was more than a tuneup for both teams.
Part of the ticket proceeds from the match will help fund a stadium in Cite Soleil, an impoverished area in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital.
One dollar for each of the 36,535 tickets sold will be donated to help build the 12,000-seat stadium.
In addition, all proceeds from a specially designed jersey sold at the stadium will go directly to Haiti’s development efforts.
On Tuesday, Haiti will play Italy in Rio de Janeiro, and those funds will also be used for development in Haiti.
Haitian fans in South Florida will soon have a second chance to see a their national team in another match.
On July 12, “Les Grenadiers” will play Trinidad and Tobago at Sun Life Stadium. The match will be part of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, the region’s premier national team tournament.
The proximity of that Gold Cup match put Saturday’s exhibition game at risk.
CONCACAF warned Haiti that competing teams are banned from playing in one of the tournament stadiums in the month leading to the start of the competition.
But FIFA, soccer’s international governing body, allowed Haiti to play, saying that even though the Gold Cup starts in less than one month on July 8, Haiti will not play at the Sun Life Stadium until four days later.
Miami MLS bid
The group behind the efforts to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to South Florida is having its first official meeting this Sunday.
Bolstered by David Beckham’s interest in owning a team in Miami, the MLS Miami Bid group will meet at Frits & Franz Bierhaus at 5 p.m.
Those attending the first meeting will be known as the founding members, according to a post on their Facebook page.
A former local soccer star, Diego Alonso Serna Lopera, who played for the league’s previous Miami team, the Fusion, will attend the event.