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Sergino Dest to miss USMNT Nations League matches as he mulls his international future

In a move that shouldn’t be seen as a big surprise, Sergino Dest will not take part in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s upcoming Nations League matches against Cuba and Canada.

The Dutch-born defender would be cap-tied by an appearance in Nations League, and with the Dutch National Team reportedly making a push to have him play for the Netherlands, Dest has been left out of the USMNT squad for October.

“I understand there is going to be a lot of attention surrounding the availability of Sergiño in this next camp,” USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter said. “I’ve had conversations with Sergiño, the conversations were positive, and the content of these conversations is going to remain private.”

Dest has reportedly met with Dutch Federation officials, including Dutch National Team manager Ronald Koeman to discuss potentially representing the Netherlands.

The son of an American serviceman and Dutch mother, Dest was born in the Netherlands but began playing for the United States on the youth level as U.S. Under-17 player. He played for the United States at the 2017 Under-17 World Cup, and more recently played for the Americans in the Under-20 World Cup, helping the team reach the quarterfinals.

He carried over the success at the Under-20 World Cup into a strong preseason at Ajax, earning a starting role with the Dutch champions. His early-season success at Ajax helped increase interest in him by the Dutch Federation, which hadn’t previously called him in for any prior national team or youth national team camps.

Dest made his USMNT debut in September, starting in friendlies against Mexico and Uruguary in what was his first senior team call-up. At the time, Dest sounded like a player who planned on keeping his international options open.


Dest showed some promise in his USMNT debut, though he was beaten badly on Mexico’s opening goal. After that match, Dest sounded like a player who was eager to earn more national team opportunities.


Berhalter made it clear back in September that he wouldn’t pressure Dest into a decision, and give Dest time to figure out what he wants to do.

“It’s about communication, communicating with these players, and then creating an environment they want to be in,” Berhalter said when asked about handling a dual national.

At the moment, Dest can play in friendlies for the United States without being cap-tied, but he would need to file a Change of Association in order to play for the Netherlands, which would tie him to the Dutch team permanently.

Dest could theoretically join the Dutch team for a training camp, be it the senior team or a youth level team, if he wanted to have that experience before making a final decision.

The 18-year-old doesn’t have to make a final decision any time soon. The USMNT has two sets of Nations League matches, in October and November, but won’t play in matches Dest could be available for until March of 2020. He could conceivably put off a decision until next summer, when the USMNT could be taking part in the final rounds of the Concacaf Nations League, and when the Dutch National Team would be taking part in Euro 2020.


  1. Whatever. The history of soccer is littered with legendary players who were actually eligible to play for multiple countries (Zidane, Henry, Giggs, whoever…..) But I’ve still never heard of a player who was “recruited” to play for a country achieving all that much. Let the kids make their decisions.

    I expect the USSF to identify talent and reach out to those players. Let them know that their talent is being noticed and that they are welcome and valued. But that’s it.

  2. He was born and raised in the Netherlands. He plays professionally in the Netherlands. His only ties to the US, as I understand it, is that our youth system brought him in when there wasn’t interest from the Dutch. To his credit, Dest has said publicly he appreciates the opportunity from the US, likes his US u20 teammates, and genuinely seems a little torn. But if you look at some of the logistics like travel, it really makes more sense for him to rep the Dutch. Hope I’m wrong, but if not I wish him luck.

  3. Jon Gonzolez, Efrain Alverez, now potentially Sergino Dest a started at Ajax. When we’re calling up Trapp, Bradley, Roldon, Lima, and Lovitz at similiar positions can you blame them? Who wants to be ignored and have your superiors fawn over inferior talent.

    If and still a big IF I hope, but If Dest chooses the Dutch over the US I hope that US fans lay blame at USSF and our management rather than at the player. One offs are one thing but we have had a series of high profile prospects choosing other international options going all the way back to Neven Subotic who was in residency at the old Bradenton with the U17s at one point. And Subotic chose Serbia so it hardly a choice between the US and a perennial power in world football.

    • Why does someone have to get blamed for players making a personal decision? Jon Gon was viewed as not good enough for the US U20 team, and as time passes that judgment seems more accurate than the judgment made by the Mexican federation when they prematurely called him up. You could say that by calling him up and cap tying him when he wasn’t ready was in the interest of the Mexican federation but not in the player’s interest, and was therefore somewhat unethical. Alvarez? He’s made no bones about it, he wants to play for El Tri. Nothing wrong with that, and nothing that the USSF can do about it.
      I’d love to see Dest play for the US, but if his heart says go with the Dutch, and if the Dutch want him, it’s a done deal and we’ll just have to move on.

  4. Why would anyone who has options want to play under this clown and for this circus of federation. #berhalterOUT #USSFisashitshow

  5. What a failure I’m getting to know that the players that play with the youth us teams and end up leaving for other country leave because they see the USA with no future and after dest playing with senior team he must have thought wow these guys aren’t very good aside from the nutmeg he received at 18 years old this kid is very very good what a loss. USSF should have convinced him and called him up anyways and make him reject the us instead of giving him the option.


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