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Soccer's Mighty Southern California Rise

There's a drastic change underway in youth sports in Los Angeles: "futbol" is quickly catching up to football as the most popular sport among high school kids, thanks to the influx of Latin American families in Southern California. Canoga Park High School, for example, didn't have a soccer team 30 years ago when its student body was 65 percent Caucasian. Now 79 percent Latino, the Canoga Park High School team finished 24-0-1 in 2007, claiming the No. 1 winter ranking for a boys soccer team.

The story is similar at other high schools across the region. Fremont's student population used to be 96 percent African American; it is now 90 percent Latino. Jefferson, once 68 percent Latino, is now 91 percent Latino. Jordan has seen its African American population fall from 94 percent to 20 percent; its Latino population is now 79 percent Latino.

Areas that were once predominantly Caucasian are also changing: Latino students now make up 50 percent or more of the student body in the areas cited in the article. Combined, Latinos and Asians will make up 80 percent of the population in L.A. County by 2050, according to state figures. Meanwhile, the number of soccer players in California has grown by a whopping 13 percent since 2005. Expect it to grow even further.

Read the whole story at Los Angeles Times »

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