USA wins Sergino Dest sweepstakes

Sergino Dest, the 18-year-old Ajax right back, announced on Monday that he has committed his international future to the USA.

Dest started for the USA at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup and 2019 Under-20 World Cup and won a starting spot at Ajax this season. His rise at the reigning Dutch champion came less than a year after he signed a pro contract.

He debuted for the USA at the senior level in friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay in September but sat out the October matches against Cuba and Canada in the Concacaf Nations League in order to consider his international future. He would have been cap-tied to the USA if he played in either of the matches.

To play for the Netherlands, Dest would have been required to file a binding change of association with FIFA. In the last month, he met with Dutch national team coach Ronald Koeman, who said he had a future on the team.

Dest's announcement comes four days after he met with U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart and U.S. men's national team coach Gregg Berhalter in Amsterdam following the Ajax-Chelsea match in the UEFA Champions League.

There were several strong arguments for Dest to consider a switch:

-- A chance to play on one of the most famous national teams in Europe, a team that is on the rise after missing out on the 2018 World Cup;
-- A chance to play with players with whom he grew up with at Ajax; and
-- A reduction in his international travel.

But the fact that the USA first offered him a chance to play trumped everything.

"Of course, it was a tough decision for me when the Dutch men's national team showed their interest," Dest said, "but I have built up a very good feeling with Team USA over the last couple of years and I strongly believe in the plans and potential of U.S. Soccer."

The USA offered Dest a chance to play at the Under-17 World Cup after Dave van den Bergh, who was working as a U.S. staff coach, was tipped off that the Ajax academy had a young passport holder.

Dest was born in Almere to a Dutch mother and Surinamese-American father from Brooklyn and joined Ajax's academy program when he was 12.

Dest also played for the USA at the 2019 Under-20 World Cup in Poland, where it finished sixth. While he struggled defensively in the opening 2-1 loss to eventual champion Ukraine, Dest had an outstanding tournament in attack from his right-back position.

He was then fast-tracked into the Ajax first team, cutting short his summer vacation at the request of head coach Erik ten Hag.

For Ajax, Dest starts at right back though he is often tucked in as a midfielder. For the USA, he played at left back against Mexico and Uruguay. Right now, the USA is deeper at right back with DeAndre Yedlin and Reggie Cannon than at left back, where the top prospects are -- like Dest -- all teenagers.

"We are thrilled to have Sergino commit to our program," Berhalter said. "He is an exceptional young player with a bright future."

18 comments about "USA wins Sergino Dest sweepstakes".
  1. Phil Hardy, October 28, 2019 at 4:23 p.m.

    Wow, I didn't see this coming at all, especially on the back of that Canada defeat. I am very pleased he has stayed with us, but I do question his decision. He could be playing in the Euros and the WC for the Netherlands--and probably would have. We can barely (these days) offer him a realistic chance at the WC.

  2. Nick Gabris replied, October 29, 2019 at 11:36 a.m.

    Agree Phil! I dont see him progressing his career with the USMNT. Someone had a lot of influence with him.

  3. John Polis, October 28, 2019 at 4:26 p.m.

    Great news and boy can we ever use some regarding our national team. 

  4. frank schoon, October 28, 2019 at 5:01 p.m.

    Holland has better players currently than Dest for rightback. He could be used for 'Oranje" but it would take a few years, perhaps and I think Dest was aware of those odds. He could start right away for US and will be an addition to the team. Besides it would be beneficial for the US for a player to bring with him some better soccer DNA which we badly are in need of....

  5. Seth Vieux replied, October 29, 2019 at 4:20 p.m.

    Agreed Frank - while I think he would have achance eventually to be a regular contributor for the Oranje, there are some awfully good and experienced pros ahead of him there already and the chances of a current 16 year old surpassing him before he's able to cement a regular spot are far greater in Holland than in the US. At this point, the only thing that could prevent him from finding a first choice spot somewhere in the USMNT lineup is injury or coaching incompetence...oh wait :-)

  6. Santiago 1314, October 28, 2019 at 5:06 p.m.

    I'm not Convinced of his Utility to the USA, but at least we get to find out.

  7. Wooden Ships replied, October 28, 2019 at 5:16 p.m.

    Santiago, utility? He's 19 or 20 and starts for Ajax. Would you have preferred he stayed with Holland?

  8. Wooden Ships replied, October 28, 2019 at 5:17 p.m.

    Excuse me, he's 18 still. 

  9. frank schoon replied, October 28, 2019 at 5:33 p.m.

    Ships, LOLOLOLOL

  10. Bob Ashpole replied, October 28, 2019 at 11:07 p.m.

    And he is a RB that plays LB and midfield too. 

  11. John James replied, October 28, 2019 at 11:22 p.m.

    I think you are using the wrong word in "utility." Are you sure you don't mean "commitment"?

  12. Seth Vieux replied, October 29, 2019 at 4:38 p.m.

    I'm sorry but this is hilarious. He may already be the best all aorund left back to ever suit up for USMNT. We've honestly never had a particulary good left back, a position that is so often so important to truly great teams. Fabian Johnson? A natural midfielder whose defensive liability wasn't nearly make up for with attacking chops. Beasley in his absolute prime maybe? Dest may already be better than Beasley ever was, and is no doubt headed there if not.

  13. Wooden Ships replied, October 30, 2019 at 3:30 p.m.

    Agreed Seth.

  14. R2 Dad, October 28, 2019 at 8:46 p.m.

    This decision is actually better for his career. Even if he did start getting caps at 20 he would never accumulate more than 30 or so. With Oranje he can attack the Dutch way all day, but in order to get better he will need to learn to defend better—and with the US he will certainly be defending more. Perhaps he can convince one of the Italian greats to train with him to improve his defensive reading of the game. However, the Fabian Johnson story should be a cautionary tale for any dual national. That could happen to Dest as well.

  15. frank schoon replied, October 28, 2019 at 9:26 p.m.

    R2, just listened to a Dutch sport show and There was no lamenting at all about Dest’s choice for they didn’t they didn’t think he was wasn’t good enough for ‘Oranje’...too many better players to compete with....

  16. Santiago 1314, October 29, 2019 at 12:13 a.m.

    SHIPS; I am not "Convinced" of either the Utility or "Commitment" of ANY of the Current "Crop" of Players in the USMNT "Pool"; exception of Arriola... Especially, With Coach "Gumby" in Charge. 

  17. Seth Vieux replied, October 29, 2019 at 4:40 p.m.

    Wait a minute...Paul Arriola is in your mind the top of the USMNT heap? You got me with the excellent troll job earlier. Well done LOL

  18. Santiago 1314, October 30, 2019 at 6:04 p.m.

    SETH, Paul Arriola is the only Current USA Player, who, Game IN, Game OUT... Runs the Whole Field, Combines with his Teammates, is Dangerous on Offense and Tenacious on Defense... He is a Consisten KNOWN Factor on a Team of UnDependable, UnderAchievers. I Stand to be Proven Wrong.???

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