Los Angeles Times

France's growing diversity is the foundation of its soccer success

PARIS - The neighborhoods surrounding Paris are the most fertile grounds on Earth for producing World Cup soccer players.

Since 2002 the banlieues, or suburbs, of greater Paris have sent 60 players and coaches to the World Cup, more than any other city anywhere. Six were on the French team that won the men's title last summer in Russia, a team that included 16 players from immigrant families who used soccer as a way to both adapt and advance.

The French women's team, which will kick off the Women's World Cup it is hosting Friday against South Korea, is no different. Two of its 23 players grew up in greater Paris and 11 trace their roots to Africa, the Caribbean or the Indian Ocean island of Reunion.

It is a

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