But the French departments are CONCACAF members and compete at a high level within the Caribbean. Many high-profile French stars have roots in Martinique and Guadeloupe. Indeed, for one 2006 World Cup warmup, the Bleus fielded six players with roots in Guadeloupe, including the entire backline. (Superstar Thierry Henry was born in France to a father from Guadeloupe and mother from Martinique.)
Guadeloupe, this year's only first-time entrant, is tapping into that pipeline of current and former European-based pros for the Gold Cup. Its best-known player is former French international Jocelyn Angloma, who played on Marseille's 1993 European Cup championship team and is still playing in Guadeloupe at the age of 41.
Angloma noted the progress soccer has made in Guadeloupe.
"It's improved tactically," he said. "And the young players have shown determination."
Two high-profile defenders -- Ronald Zubar (Marseille) and David Sommeil (Sheffield United) -- also agreed to join Angloma the Gold Cup, though Zubar pulled out at the last minute because of an injury.
Coach Roger Salnot selected 12 European-based players: eight from France and two each from England and the Netherlands.
GOLD CUP RECORD:
Goalkeepers: Marius Fausta (Evolucas), Franck Grandel (Utrecht/NED), Fabrice Mercury (Moulien);
Defenders: Miguel Comminges (Reims/FRA), Philippe Durpes (Romorantin/FRA), David Fleurival (Tours/FRA), David Sommeil (Sheffield United/ENG), Michael Tacalfred (Dijon/FRA), Alain Vertot (Etoile de Morne-a-l'Eau);
Midfielders: Jocelyn Angloma (Etoile de Morne-a-l'Eau), Stephane Auvray (Vannes/FRA), Lery Hannany (Racing Club), Jean Luc Lambourde (Amical Club), Dominique Mocka (Vieux-Habitants), Marving Onestas (Evolution), Ludovic Quistin (Tamworth/ENG), Constant Therezine (Gosier);
Forwards: Auralien Capoue (Nantes/FRA), Cadrick Fiston (AJSS), Ludovic Gotin (Moulien), Loic Loval (Utrecht/NED), Fabien Raddas (Poissy/FRA), Richard Socrier (Brest/FRA).
Coach: Roger SALNOT.