Players from ‘Jewish’ soccer team take DNA test, but find no Jewish roots

The Dutch team 'Ajax' has made its Jewish connections a source of team pride, despite its team members not being of Jewish origin.

Ajax fans in the stands before the Europa League Final against Manchester United, 24 May, 2017 (photo credit: REUTERS / INTS KALNINS LIVEPIC)
Ajax fans in the stands before the Europa League Final against Manchester United, 24 May, 2017
(photo credit: REUTERS / INTS KALNINS LIVEPIC)
Four champions of the Dutch soccer team Ajax – whose players are nicknamed de Joden ("the Jews") – have taken a DNA test through the Israeli start-up MyHeritage. Sadly they found no Jewish roots whatsoever, but plenty of diversity in their origins.
Dutch players Daley Blind, Joël Veltman, and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and Serbian national Dušan Tadić all undertook the test and made interesting discoveries.
Tadić was told that he has some Finnish origins, as well as Greek and Southern Italian, as a video by MyHeritage showed. Overall, the test revealed that the Ajax captain presents matches with 50 different countries.
Meanwhile, the results also indicated that Blind has some North African roots.
A marriage certificate uncovered in records the company has access to indicated that Huntelaar's great grandfather Dirk Adrianus Huntelaar was a furniture designer, and that his father Balfur was an upholsterer, while Dirk Adrianus's father-in-law was a carpenter and his father a painter.
Veltman joked that he could play in the Indonesian national team after he was told that his great-grandfather, Lammert Bracht, served in the Royal Dutch East-Indies Army and his great grandmother, Jacoba van der Kamp, was born in Indonesia, which at the time was a Dutch colony.
The lack of Jewish origins should not be surprising. It is not clear how Ajax, which was established in 1900, acquired such a strong Jewish association early in its history.
According to the New York Times, the club has had two Jewish presidents since the end of the Second World War, and occasionally some Jewish players. Most importantly, in the past decades, both the team and its fans have chosen to embrace their Jewish identity after they realized that opponents used antisemitic chants and insults against them.
"About thirty years ago, the other teams' supporters started calling us Jews because there was a history of Jews in Ajax," Fred Harris, a fan, told the Times, "so we took it up as a point of pride and now it has become our identity."
Ajax gadgets featuring Stars of David and Israeli flags are regularly sold outside the Johan Cruyff Arena.
MyHeritage describes itself as "the leading global discovery platform for exploring family history and gaining valuable health insights," using a combination of "technologies, billions of international historical records, and at-home DNA tests to help people explore their heritage and understand their past so that they can improve their future."