The wait is over. Rising soccer star Sergino Dest finally picked which national team he will represent at the senior level moving forward, and his choice was the red, white and blue of the United States. His decision was announced on Ajax's official Twitter page on Monday.
The 18-year-old defender, who was born in the Netherlands, had been contemplating between the United States and the Dutch in what's been a hectic month-and-a-half for both parties, especially the U.S., anxiously waiting his decision. USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter and sporting director Earnie Stewart went to visit Dest last week when Ajax played Chelsea in the Champions League.
"I am happy to announce that I have decided to keep playing for the U.S. men's national team," Dest said, according to U.S. Soccer. "Of course, it was a tough decision for me when the Dutch men's national team showed their interest, 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. I am therefore dedicated to making the next 10-15 years a big success and will do my utmost to help the team play for titles."
A product of the renowned Ajax youth system, Dest arrived on the European scene this season, earning a spot on the senior club squad. He's been the main starter at right back and has impressed for one of the biggest clubs in European history, regularly playing 90 minutes in the Champions League and first division. A versatile player who is good at getting forward and excels in defending one-on-one, he's one of the top young right backs in the world. Dest has played 11 matches for Ajax thus far.
Dest, who became eligible to play for the U.S. due to his Surinamese-American father. has been a key player for the American youth national teams and played at the U-20 World Cup this past summer. He was called up to the USMNT in September and played two friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay. In both of those matches, he played left back and looked sharp, further showing his versatility.
Here's what the move means for the USMNT, the Dutch and the player:
What it means for the USMNT
It's a big score for Berhalter, because he now has what looks like his fullback of the future. Dest should be the automatic starter at a thin left back position that has regularly featured Daniel Lovitz as of late. During what's been a tough time for U.S. Soccer following the poor loss to Canada and inconsistent performances, getting Dest in the fold boosts excitement within and outside of the program.
Dest isn't a player who will make or break the national team, but he helps a defense that really could use all the help it can get, giving it a gem of a player with big-time potential.
What it means for the Dutch national team
The Netherlands put on the full-court press to land Dest, but it won't be losing sleep over his decision. The Dutch side is obviously blessed with an extremely talented pools of players and already has a ton of pieces in defense to work with. Who knows how many minutes he would have really gotten with the Dutch, while with the U.S. he was certainly needed. Ronaldo Koeman has a bunch of young defenders at his disposal. he'll be disappointed in losing out, but the Dutch are still contenders for Euro 2020 and the World Cup 2022.
What it means for Dest
This was the best move when it comes to playing on the international scene and getting a chance to play at the next World Cup. Dest has time and time again mentioned the importance and trust the youth U.S. national teams have put in him. Credit goes to Tab Ramos and others for pushing him, giving him minutes and the experience. For Dest, expect him to continue to make an impact for Ajax and for him to be a regular starter for the U.S. for years to come.