To scout new members, soccer clubs took to exploring the Ile-de-France région, the area surrounding Paris which has become the world’s top talent pool for professional soccer players. The area alone has provided a third of the French national team and more talent than Asia, Africa and North America combined.
On rudimentary sports complexes ringed by dingy apartment blocks, children and young teenagers train daily under the supervision of volunteer coaches and dedicated parents. “Whether it’s at school or outside in the neighborhood, everyone will play soccer,” said Paul Pogba, who was born in a banlieue east of Paris and now plays for Manchester United and the French national team. “That helps people to not stay in the neighborhood doing nothing and doing stupid things. Every day it’s the ball. That’s all there is.”
Read more at ESPN.