What began as an opportunity to brag to his colleagues ended up with a Manitoba man discovering he’s related to almost all of the players on Iceland’s World Cup soccer team.
Len Isleifson, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, started investigating his connection to the team during the excitement that followed Iceland qualifying for its first-ever World Cup.
Isleifson says that his father, along with the genealogy company Icelandic Roots, researched his family connections to the team and found that Isleifson is related to the Icelandic team’s coach as well as 22 of its 23 players.
While the number seems shockingly high, Isleifson says it’s not unexpected, given the island nation’s small size.
The smallest country to ever send a team to the World Cup, Iceland has a population of less than 350,000 people.
As a result, Isleifson told CTV News Channel, “there’s a little bit more opportunity to be related to more people.”
With the help of Iceland’s Consul General to Winnipeg, Thordur Gudjonsson, Isleifson is trying to make arrangements to head over to Iceland after the World Cup and meet the players.
With the 2026 World Cup coming to Canada, the Canadian team will be making their second-ever World Cup appearance. Isleifson says that it won’t be a hard decision who to cheer for.
“It’s Canada all the way,” Isleifson said. “And I guess if Canada plays against Iceland, I mean, go Iceland go.”