There are many rules that must be followed by athletes before they can join a national team. Sometimes, players born in other countries may join a national team if other
qualifications are met. However, even athletes that believe
to be natives of the team they represent may sometimes find out that their true ancestral heritage is not from the country that they represent!
MyHeritage, a DNA company with headquarters in Israel, has recently been taking DNA samples of professional athletes, more specifically, soccer players. Some examples include Lothar Matthäus, Clarence Seedorf, Gianluca Zambrotta, Gilberto Silva, and so on. These players, like the majority of people taking these tests, had some idea of their origins, but many were shocked to find that they were more mixed than previously thought. Matthäus for example, would have believed he was heavily German, however he ended up being more non-German than German. What does that show? It reinforces once again that a person’s birthplace or the birthplace of their family members does not automatically give them genetic or ancestral ties to that place. When people take these tests, more often then not, they get what they expect with maybe a sprinkling of surprise. However, depending on the geography of country “X”, some peoples’ family history and geographic location would have given them a higher chance of being mixed than someone else. Below is the youtube link to Matthäus’ DNA test, and the channel has many famous individuals who decided to discover their true ancestral origins. In light of the World Cup, this reminds us that while we may all choose to support one team, or consider ourselves to be one background culturally and even ancestrally, we share more in common with one another than previously thought. We are all mixed, and more related to people of different cultures than we think.