A Dutch-American defender not being called up to the U.S. men’s national team squad for their October games is causing quite a stir.
[ MORE: Full USMNT October squad ]
After making his USMNT debut last month Sergino Dest, 18, was not expected to be included in Gregg Berhalter’s squad for their CONCACAF Nations League games against Canada and Cuba this month.
The matches against Canada and Cuba are competitive, so if the Ajax academy product played he would be tied to the USMNT at international level.
It has been revealed that Dest and Berhalter have spoken at length about the situation and reports suggest that Dest said he would turn down a call-up for the October international window to keep his options open.
“I understand there is going to be a lot of attention surrounding the availability of Sergino in this next camp,” Berhalter said. “I’ve had conversations with Sergino, the conversations were positive, and the content of these conversations is going to remain private.”
The Netherlands are said to have spoken to Dest at length in recent weeks, with head coach Ronald Koeman meeting with him in Amsterdam.
Dest has played for the U.S. throughout youth international level, and his versatility has been key for both the U17 and U20 teams.
He has burst onto the scene this season for Ajax, becoming the starting right back for the Dutch champions.
With the Netherlands ranked 13th in the world and runners up in the UEFA Nations League tournament over the summer, the pull of playing alongside Virgil Van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt for the foreseeable future may be too good of an opportunity to turn down.
Dest was born in the Netherlands but obviously has a strong affinity to the U.S. so this is not an easy decision. At all.
It is smart for him to take his time, and he isn’t likely to play for the USMNT again until March when their next friendly games roll around.
Sergino Dest may well end up being the ‘one that got away’ and USMNT fans will be muttering his name under their breath in years to come as their lack of depth defensively and in the full back areas is a real issue.
But just like Giuseppe Rossi playing for Italy, or on the flip side Jermaine Jones, John Brooks and Fabian Johnson playing for the USMNT, it is all about where Dest sees the best fit for him.
There’s no getting away from the fact that if he chose to play for the Netherlands it may take him a little longer to become a regular with Denzil Dumfries their starting right back. If he chooses to play for the USMNT he will be a regular for the next decade if his career continues on the current trajectory.
This isn’t an easy decision. But what would you do if you were Dest?
Play for one of the most storied national teams in history who look to be on the cusp of a golden generation with Memphis Depay, de Ligt, van Dijk and Frenkie de Jong all alongside you?
Or take a chance on a team which may well struggle to reach the 2022 World Cup and are probably as far away from being competitive on the world stage as they have been at any point in the last two decades?
If you back yourself to become a world-class center back, you pick the Netherlands.