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Dest, Berhalter reflect as defender’s National Team decision approaches

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.


  1. This was just a way to show the program is trying. Dest is very confident in his game saying he would like to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid one day. If you feel your good enough to get there one day your confident you can make the Dutch national team one day. Holland have to only tie in their next game to qualify so they can use the final game to cap tie some younger players. The scenario sets up perfectly for the Dutch. So not if but when he chooses Holland today Gregg and Earnie can say they tried and it looks good to the fan base. Allegedly there was a report that Dest hated Gregg’s system, feeling handcuffed and frustrated. Until we can become a consistent footballing country we will lose more of these battles than win.

    • Boy was I wrong. I would have thought he wanted to play for big trophies. Well I will tip my hat to GGG and Earnie for making this happen. Now lets cap tie Ledezma against Cuba.

  2. “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” Doesnt seem Ernie sees GB the way most in the country see him. Many, me included, want him gone if he doesnt beat Canada next month. He has had enough time to show something and hasnt. Dest wont make any difference. I can see Ernie being there to do the Dutch thing with Dest but Ernie certainly doesnt seem as upset with that fool GB as everybody else is

  3. Stewart: Greg the team is looking good.
    Berhalter: We need better players we need to recruit Dest as an excuse to keep me in as coach if I can get him cap tied it will look as a plus for me as coach.

  4. Its now three months into the new season and Dest has solidified himself as the #1 RB at Ajax. This isn’t a mid table Bundesliga team, mid table EPL team, or MLS this is Ajax that was in the Champions League semifinal last May. At this point right now Dest actually has more accumulated Champions League minutes at RB than any other player in our pool.

    LB is an eternal empty hole, but you don’t ask a player who’s just accomplished all of this on the club level at only 18 to switch positions (unless you convince him its only temporary ala FJ maybe), and definitely not in his first senior call up. Starting a seasoned vet with years of top 5 league or Europa League experience like Yedlin, FJ, or Chandler may not insult him but to start Reggie Cannon over Dest at his preferred position in what could be his only two games with the NT was a idiotic move. The doubled down on the idiotic move by subbing him off for a player of Lovitiz caliber, better to have subbed Cannon off and switch Dest to RB in the game. This just sends the player the wrong message, you’re telling him your good but not good enough to warrant playing on your preferred side because we like this other guy there over you. For those of you saying but he got nutmeged against Mexico and Puli scorched him earlier this week “so he’s not that good, blah blah blah and we do not need him”, well the manager and heads at both Ajax and the Netherlands NT disagree with you. They want him, they see talent, they are starting him in UCL matches and the NT there is hot for him, given the Dutch track record for talent development I’d tend to agree with them.

    I really hope GB hasn’t messed this up and they are getting things done over there earlier this week but it could have been too little too late type thing and only showing in the ‘love’ now that the Dutch are calling, what’s he supposed to think? At the same time if Dest commits and then is cap tied in the next couple windows I’ll give GB and Earnie their credit due for putting out this fire, but I don’t think that scenario is looking so good right now.

    • The Dutch like attack minded wingbacks, so they can rate a player, who might not fit in with the US mentality, which should be to defend first. GB threw the kid a bone and said he defends well, even though I haven’t seen that, and not at this level, or at the youth. He is not a lock down defender.

  5. Interesting how far they’re going to try and convinced Dest of playing for US, given his dual nationality situation. However, when Jonathan Gonzalez was on the same situation/path, granted different league but not a big difference in level, no US Soccer official took time of their “busy” schedule, to fly to Monterrey.

  6. Left-back option….some guy named Fabian Johnson who just a few days ago said he wants to be called back in to the national team, but still awaiting Berhalter’s call….He was nursing a groin injury but almost back from it….He’s 31 but still can give the U.S. the needed stability for the time being…

    • Holy crap is that true? I was thinking the other day we need Fabian Johnson so bad on this team. Screw LB we need him at winger but he would be easily our best LB. Fabian clearly one of our best 11 pool players

  7. I wonder how much interest the Dutch have in actually bringing him into their senior team? I know they called him up for one of the youth teams, but does he have real hope of making their full squad and playing? With us, he probably walks into the starting lineup of the senior team right now…I’m still not holding my breath but I am definitely crossing fingers, the USMNT really needs a break and some good news.

  8. He is best at right back has a very good touch and can go forward to join attacks and strike the ball. I would use him at left back because we have to be dangerous on both wings.

  9. If he picks US, then GB starts him, at LW or RW, day 1 of camp. IMO. I know he’s a RB, but Cannon & Morris have a good understanding on the right side. If CP plays central, I think, Dest as LW, would be nice. Plus Yedlin, Lima, Moore, Lichaj, a healthy Lindsey, and Araujo, means RB is deep.

      • Unless you’re thinking of using Pulisic as a forward, I don’t think we have 2 strikers worthy of being in the starting XI right now.

      • Antonee Robinson is my 1st choice! Next is Chris Gloster @ LB, & Dest combination. 3rd choice LB -(healthy) Jaylin Lindsey. Doesn’t matter the formation- 3-5-2, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1. I think, he has a twitchy presence, notice how Dest has an extra move in the final 1/3. As we have pointed out, Weah is injured. Dest can play RB, for Ajax. Why not move him to an advance position, and allow to shoot or pass in scoring position, until he matures into a defensive player for USMNT. If CP is a 10, or if Morris is playing the 9, Dest, IMO, would be a productive winger. Would’ve posted more, in response. Sry, was on the road traveling.

      • Weah isn’t currently healthy. He’s been sidelined for over a month. Once healthy and playing again we could say we have 2 forwards worthy of being in the starting XI. Until then we don’t.

  10. I’m hoping he chooses the US. He has history and chemistry with many of the players that he’s progressed with through the youth ranks….and this might tip the scales in our favor.
    Additionally when you also look at those he’s competing against within the US player pool, he has to realize that he’ll see more opportunities sooner with the US than Holland.
    On the flip side, if he decides to represent Holland I could see this being the first of many Domino’s to fall. Dest, Ledezma, and our other top prospects who’ve progressed through the US ranks but have options choose the other nations who’ve come calling, it could gut the USMNT for years to come.

  11. I’ve only seen him play twice and both times he got nutmegged for a goal. Once by pulisic and once by Corona.
    According to some people here defenders that get beat for a goal are not good enough for the national team so I hope he picks the orange

  12. I believe he will choose us I know people saying a Dutch source breaking the news means he is picking Holland. But he has a chance to be cap tied and will make the decision for USA this week. I am confident. Holland also has never won a WC.

    • They do have 5 semi final appearances and 3 finals though, to one US semi 90 years ago. They are the most successful team to not win a WC and currently ranked 4th in the world after finishing 2nd in UEFA Nations League, whereas we currently sit 2nd in our group in the Concacaf NL.


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