Soccer fans in the United States have a long tradition of enduring disappointment, but the US Men National Team’s elimination late last year from the World Cup left many wondering which team to cheer for at this year’s tournament in Russia.
It’s the first time since 1990 that the team has been eliminated. So fans in the United States won’t get the chance to watch their team hold Brazil to a single goal, yes that happened. Or see the team notch an improbable victory over, say, Colombia, as they did way back in 1994.
So, apart from waiting until the next World Cup in 2022, or simply watching the women’s team play next year, what is a soccer nut to do?
Here’s an idea — why not pick a team based on your genetic ancestry?
23andMe makes this a breeze with a new in-product featured called “Root for your Roots.” This allows customers to use their DNA to connect with a team that’s playing in this year’s World Cup.
Starting this week, 23andMe customers who log into their report will see a new feature that will surface those countries in the tournament that they have the strongest DNA connections with. Based on our internal data, the majority of customers have direct DNA links to the following countries (in order of most prevalent):
- Russian Federation
But even if one of your strongest DNA connections isn’t with a team you are interested in rooting for, you can pick more distant matches or a “wildcard” team with whom you have no connection, maybe an underdog team such as Iceland or Egypt.
23andMe linked up with Fox Sports, the exclusive broadcaster of the World Cup in the U.S., and launched a “Root for Your Roots” campaign last month. The World Cup is a truly huge global phenomenon that brings together international fans who all share the same love of what’s known as the “beautiful game.”
“We hope this collaboration becomes a new way for people to experience global events like the World Cup,” said Tracy Keim, Vice President of Consumer Marketing at 23andMe. “We are creating an authentic experience that can open our minds and bring people together to celebrate diversity, and our global teams rooted in our DNA.”