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Dest: “I always thought of Ajax and the Netherlands”

Dutch-American Sergino Dest has always had positive thoughts of the Netherlands, despite winning two caps so far with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

The 18-year-old Dutch-American made his first senior appearances for the USMNT in September, but is still in the decision-making process regarding his international future. Born in Almere, Dest up to now has represented the U.S. at the Under-17 and Under-20 levels before earning his first senior call up. Although he admitted as a kid he always used to think of the top two teams in Holland.

“When I thought of football when I was younger, it was always Ajax or the Dutch team,” Dest said in an interview for Ajax’s website. “Never the U.S. But I haven’t been approached by the Dutch team.”

Dest started his youth career with Almere City and played there until 2012, before making the switch to Ajax. Since then, he’s risen through the club’s ranks before jumping into the first team in 2019.

So far, Dest has made 13 appearances for the defending Eredivisie champs in all competitions, which has seen him play in the UEFA Champions League, Eredivisie, and Dutch Super Cup. Although he will not appear in this international break, Dest feels that being an American is just as important as his home country which he may switch his allegiance to.

“My father is from Brooklyn, but we spoke Dutch at home,” Dest said. “Actually, until a few years ago, my English was very poor. I wasn’t thinking of my American roots at all until I went to play in an American youth team. From that moment, my English improved, and I started to feel more American.

“I realized that: ‘Hey, this is my nationality, too.’ Now I think it’s great to be an American as well. It’s an asset and as well. The U.S. passport is one of the best in the world.”

Netherlands manager Ronald Koeman stated in a press conference Monday that Dest “could have a future with the Dutch, but nothing has been promised yet.” A wingback who can play on either the left or right side, Dest is an option for the right back position, Koeman confirmed.


  1. I don’t understand why his English was poor until recently. Everyone from Holland I have met or even seen on TV speaks English very well. Additionally, English TV and radio are just across the channel and probably easily received in Holland. English is commonly taught in the schools, too.

    • He was 15, going to school at the school affiliates with the Ajax Academy. Think about a 15 year old American kid that takes Spanish class. Do they speak Spanish, yes, would they say their Spanish was good if they were dropped into a Spanish speaking country. Also if you read the article on the Ajax site it appears they wrote it in a Dutch and just ran it through Google translate their were some pretty strange errors.

      • you are like the world’s biggest apologist. Ajax has what it touts as the “School of the Future,” that it finished in 2015. i assume they felt compelled to attempt a better school for their academicians for some reason. reading between the lines of stuff i read about it, the curriculum may be a little too practical/cynical (kinesiology, media relations) and/or free form , and thus they may not get the same rigorous education as normal dutch students, who are probably required to take foreign languages.

    • Agree and good point on the language Gary. Most people I’ve met from The Netherlands are at minimum bi lingual and many are tri or quadra lingual too. Its a different world there where you can drive 2 hours and be in three different places/countries all speaking different languages its almost a must if there to know 2-3 languages from folks I’ve meet or worked with from there and other smaller European nations. It would be like living in NJ and driving an hour to Delaware, NY, or Pennsylvania and each speaking a different language.

      Just rambling here (not directed at you) but either way I think his comments are at the least very worrying and seem to be intended to distance himself from the US and bring him closer to The Netherlands. Again I really hope we as fans don’t blame the player here once this happens. However, there should be blame laid for losing a players who’s played for us multiple youth WCs to another nation who later caught on at a Champions League club. The NT Technical Director and GM for one, the manager, the federation and the organization as a whole losing a player who played for us at multiple youth WCs. We complain about our talent gap and such but why should these talented players with dual national identity play for the US when our house is absolute mess from any sane soccer professional looking at us from the outside without local US bias? Dual nationals aren’t going away. Donovan was even eligible for Canada thru his dad. Its something we are going to have to deal with moving forward and yes that means recruiting players at times and at the very least having our house in order for outside observers to see so we don’t look like a clown show running the looney farm.


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