Sergino Dest made the most of his early time with Ajax’s first team last season and is now setting himself for continued success in his second campaign.
Dest was one of Ajax’s top players last season, helping the team lift the Johan Cruyff Shield and finish first in the Eredivisie table before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season abruptly. The U.S. Men’s National Team right back is now gearing up for another strong season abroad with hopes of completing the season this time around.
“Last year I made my debut and had a great season,” Dest said in a club interview. “I look back on it with pride. However, the Coronavirus threw a spanner in the works at the end of the season. Just when my teammates broke through a bit, something like this happened. You would rather have played and you wanted to become a champion. It was actually all a bit for nothing last season.”
Dest totaled 35 appearances for Ajax last season, debuting in the Eredivisie and three additional competitions. While also debuting for the USMNT at the end of 2019, Dest was also named Ajax’s Young Player of the Year before the pandemic forced an early end to his season.
Now the Dutch giants are continuing its camp in Holland after also spending time in Austria with a main goal of returning as league champions. Despite the lengthy break off due to the pandemic, Dest has featured in friendly action and has continued working with several talented teammates such as Dusan Tadic, Quincy Promes, and David Neres.
“It was a good camp, a good time [in Austria],” Dest said. “We worked on a new pressing situation, so we can start pressuring opposing teams more this season. We just play well together, new players also easily find their way. We include last year’s talent too. Maybe it is an even better group than last year.”
Dest’s rapid rise with Ajax has not only impressed the coaching staff at Ajax but has continued garnering attention from several big clubs in Europe such as Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and Juventus. All three clubs have been linked with Dest this summer, but no official offers have been accepted by Ajax, whom are keen to keep the young talent in Amsterdam.
While some players may get distracted by the constant rumors of a big European move, Dest is staying focused on Ajax and continuing his development as a professional.
“It’s nice that you hear it [interest from big clubs], but I live by the moment and still have a lot to improve,” Dest said. “This season I want to develop myself further and win trophies. I have a good feeling right now. I hope COVID-19 doesn’t screw it up and that we stick to the goals right now.”
Ajax opens its domestic schedule on Sept. 13th at Sparta Rotterdam before hosting RKC Waalwijk in its home opener a week later.