THE HAGUE – Ajax defender Sergiño Dest has decided to remain with the United States national team rather than switch to the Netherlands.
The 18-year-old outside back, who has a Surinamese-American father and Dutch mother, played for the U.S. in the Under-17 and Under-20 World Cups. He made his senior national team debut for the Americans last month when he played in friendlies against Mexico and Uruguay, but because he had not played a competitive match had the ability under FIFA's rules to change his affiliation to the Dutch national team.
In recent weeks, both Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman and U.S. counterpart Gregg Berhalter had spoken to Dest in an attempt to persuade him.
"Of course, it was a tough decision for me when the Dutch men's national team showed their interest, but I have built up a very good feeling with Team USA over the last couple of years and I strongly believe in the plans and potential of U.S. Soccer," Dest said Monday.
He made his Ajax debut at the beginning of this season and has been a regular starter in the Eredivisie and the Champions League.
Dest is a typical Ajax defender. Skillful and quick, he tries to push forward and deliver crosses.
He told Ajax teammates of his decision in the locker room after training on Monday. He also called Koeman to break the news.
"Of course, he was disappointed, but he respected my choice," Dest told Ajax TV.