Sergiño Dest Chooses to Play for USMNT Over Netherlands

Ajax's Dutch-American fullback will play for the USA on the international level.
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Sergiño Dest has made his choice, and it's one sure to please U.S. men's national team fans.

The 18-year-old Ajax fullback will play for the USA internationally, bringing an end to a few-month-long tug of war over his services. Dest played for the USA at U-17 and U-20 World Cups, and he now has hopes of representing the USA at a senior World Cup as well after committing to the U.S. for the long haul. He can be officially cap-tied next month, when the USA plays against Canada and Cuba in the Concacaf Nations League.

“I am happy to announce that I have decided to keep playing for the U.S. men's national team,” Dest said in a statement. “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.”

Dest earned his first senior caps against Mexico and Uruguay in September, playing at left back. With fullback a thin position on the U.S. depth chart, his inclusion going forward is a big win for manager Gregg Berhalter, who, along with U.S. Soccer sporting director Earnie Stewart, visited Dest and his father at Ajax last week for its Champions League match vs. Christian Pulisic's Chelsea.

“We are excited that Sergiño will continue with our program,” Stewart said. “In all of our discussions, Sergiño expressed the comfort he feels within the group and his appreciation for the commitment the federation has made along the way. As a dual national myself, I understand the choices that these young players face. Our job is to provide a clear pathway and maintain honest and open communication, and then ultimately it comes down to a personal decision.”