Against all odds, 18-year-old dual national Sergino Dest has committed to the United States over the Netherlands.
Dest, who was born in the Netherlands but had represented the United States at both the youth and senior levels, announced his decision via Ajax social media and online channels.
“I have chosen to play for Team USA,” Dest said in a video posted on Ajax’s Twitter account. “I have based this decision on my feeling, however it was a tough one. It took me a long time to come to this decision. In the end it’s Team USA.”
Dest said he has already spoken to Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman to inform him of the decision.
The Ajax full-back also announced the decision via the USMNT, saying, “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.”
Dest’s decision is a massive boost for head coach Gregg Berhalter who sees a young player with massive upside make a surprising decision in his favor. The Netherlands seemed to hold all the cards, as Dest was born in the country, starts for its biggest club, and plays one of the few positions they are thin at. Even an hour before the decision was announced, a report came through that those close to Dest believed he would side with his home country.
Now, Dest will likely slide into a direct competition with DeAndre Yedlin for the starting right-back spot with the USMNT. He could also slide over to left-back should Berhalter want both players in the starting lineup, although that would be risky given Dest’s current form at his natural position.
Dest has already made his debut for the USMNT in a 3-0 loss to Mexico, but his two caps have both come in friendlies, therefore not cap-tying him to the country. With the recent commitment, Dest could find himself cap-tied to the United States as soon as November 15 when the United States looks for revenge against Canada in CONCACAF Nations League play. Another competitive match comes four days later against Cuba.