For Sergino Dest, his decision regarding his international future will be coming up this week. The U.S. Men’s National Team and the Netherlands are Dest’s two options, with the youngster only having experience with the USMNT so far.
The 18-year-old has moved rapidly through U.S. Soccer this calendar year, appearing in a pair of senior friendlies and helping the Under-20 National Team to the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup. However, Dest has also risen through the ranks with Dutch giants Ajax this season, helping them lift one domestic trophy so far and appearing in both the Eredivisie and the UEFA Champions League. Dest spoke with Sirius XM on Thursday in regards to his fitness and the opportunities so far with the USMNT.
“Physically I got a cramp in the last five minutes against Chelsea, but in general we do great as a team. We physically good enough to play against the best teams in the world. We played a lot of games in the last months so we need a little bit of rest, but we recover good tomorrow and we will be ready for Feyenoord on Sunday,” Dest said.
“It was a great experience for me. Everyone dreams of playing for a country. It’s the highest level you can play in. It was a great experience against Mexico who is our biggest rival. I don’t know who I am going to play with yet, but in the future I want to play more international games because it develops me a lot better.”
Dest played the full 90 minutes at Johan Cruyff Stadium in a 1-0 group stage defeat to EPL side Chelsea. Going up against fellow USMNT teammate Christian Pulisic for the final 25+ minutes was a duel that certainly had fans excited, however Pulisic got the last laugh. The 21-year-old beat Dest on the left flank, before setting up the eventual winning goal scored by Michy Batshuayi.
USMNT head coach Gregg Berhaler and sporting director Earnie Stewart were in attendance in Amsterdam for the match and also met with Dest and his father the following day. Joining Tony Meola and Brian Dunseth on Sirius XM show Counter Attack, Berhalter reflected on the meeting with Dest and his abilities on the pitch so far in his young career.
“Earnie and I had a long conversation with Sergino and his father over lunch today [Thursday] and I think the important thing is reiterating how he’s coming through the program, him being a part of it, and how he’s performed with the U-17’s and U-20’s. For him it’s been comforting to be with us and it’s good to hear that from him and how it’s meant to him,” Berhalter said.
“We wanted to continue supporting him, especially after his tough game last night. He’s a good kid, he’s a pleasure to watch, it’s tough for teams to scout him because he’s good defensively and he’s quick too, but also offensively he’s always getting forward and he’s dangerous.”
Dest will make his decision this week before gearing up for a highly-anticipated Eredivisie showdown with Feyenoord on Sunday. Should he pick the USMNT, he will be expected to be included in Berhalter’s Concacaf Nations League squad for matches against Canada and Cuba scheduled for mid-November.