23andMe wants you to find a new World Cup team in your blood

Commentary: With the US soccer team eliminated, the genetic testing company and Fox Sports get together to drum up interest in the tournament.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Spain? Well, OK. It plays lovely soccer.

Fox Sports/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When it comes to soccer, you either have the passion or you ought to seek counseling.

For those who appreciate and feel the world-enveloping magnitude of the game, the World Cup begins on June 14.

This is a problem for the US.

The national team failed to qualify, as it stumbled to defeat against, oh, Trinidad and Tobago. So who are you supposed to root for? 

Genetic testing company 23andMe and Fox Sports have come up with a delightful wheeze. Get a DNA test and you might discover most of your blood came from one (or more) of the countries that did qualify.

Saudi Arabia, for example. Or Panama, Serbia, Senegal or Iran.

Can you find it in you, as the ad says, to root for your roots?

The experience could be enlightening. After all, white supremacists take these tests and often discover they aren't actually whiter than white.

I can help you understand how it feels to root for a country that may not be quite yours. 

I was born in England, but I have Polish blood. I now have US citizenship, too. And then there was a test I once had that said my actual roots may lie in Algeria.

I tended to make rooting choices according to which teams played the most attractive soccer. This often ruled out England and made me very glad I didn't have a trace of Italian.

Should you plump for one of these DNA tests, I encourage you to use this criterion, as I worry you might have more than one qualified country in your blood. 

Indeed, 23andMe spokesman Andy Kill told me: "The average customer finds at least five regions or countries in their results."

The company examined anonymous data from 53,000 consenting customers and found the top five most prevalent World Cup countries represented were England, Mexico, Poland, Germany and Russia.

Yes, you might choose which country to support according to, say, which team colors you prefer. But soccer is a truly beautiful game. It's something you experience deep inside you.

Perhaps, if you discover what else is deep inside you, you'll know where your soccer heart truly lies.

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