Sergino Dest Profile
|Born||Nov 03, 2000|
Sergino Dest has become a key figure for the USMNT while still a young player. The Dutch-American has made a move to one of the world's biggest clubs and he's still got a long way to go in the game.
The US Men's National Team found a hidden gem in the Netherlands in the form of Sergino Dest.
An attacking right-back, Dest grew up in the Netherlands but qualifies for the USA through his Surinamese/American father. Having fallen off Holland's radar, he was snapped up to represent the US while featuring for the Ajax U-17s.
After shining for the stars and stripes in the U-17 and U-20 World Cups, Dest was signed by FC Barcelona in 2020 for a deal worth over €21million ($25.5million). The Spanish club beat Bayern Munich to Dest's signature as the full-back signed a five-year deal with the release clause set at €400million ($485.5million).
Dest is known for his breathtaking dribbling, first touch and ability to carry the ball into dangerous areas.
Dest's journey through youth soccer
Unlike Tyler Adams, Josh Sargent and other USMNT colleagues, Dest didn't learn his craft in the USA, instead being raised in the Northern Holland city of Almere, just over the water from Amsterdam.
In fact, Dest didn't visit the USA until he was 14, when he went to New York, the home city of his American serviceman father.
Dest played for the youth academy of Almere City FC from the age of 9, after playing street football in the Almere Stad district of the city. However, Dest's destiny was always Ajax, since Almere City was a partner club of the Dutch giants from nearby Amsterdam.
Sergino Dest and Ajax
In 2012 he made the switch to the famed Ajax Academy but that wasn't the only change for Dest as he was moved to the right-back position.
"He came in as a right winger, but after six months, for a tournament, there was a problem at right-back, so I asked him to play there. He did fantastic and two weeks after, he got selected for the Dutch national team [at youth level]," his Ajax coach Brian Tevreden told The Guardian.
The Ajax academy was dripping with talent and Dest had plenty of competition to rise to the top at the Amsterdam club. Yet, he had pace in his locker and a strong work ethic which helped him into a position to play for Jong Ajax, the club's second side in 2018.
Dest emerged from being just another of Ajax's decent youth players to one that had the potential to play at the highest level.
He made 17 appearances in the 2018/19 Dutch second tier for Jong Ajax, scoring once and impressing with the roving runs of a thoroughly modern full back. He also played seven times in the prestigious UEFA Youth League in 2018/19, scoring once and providing one assist.
His first-team debut came in July 2019 when he started for Ajax in the Johan Cruyff Shield versus PSV Eindhoven. Dest helped Ajax to a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over PSV to take the clash between the winners of the Eredivisie and the KNVB Cup.
Two weeks later, on August 10 2019, Dest came on as a 54th minute substitute to make his Eredivisie debut for Ajax versus FC Emmen in a 5-0 win.
Further milestones followed as Dest started his first Champions League game for Ajax in September 2019, as the Amsterdam club saw off Lille OSC 3-0.
Dest grabbed the headlines with a swashbuckling display down the right flank for Ajax.
He played 20 games for Ajax in the 2019/20 Eredivisie but was denied a league winner's medal after the competition was voided due to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.
In May 2020, Dest followed in the footsteps of Rafael van der Vaart and Matthijs de Ligt by winning the Ajax Talent of the Year award.
Moving to FC Barcelona
With Bayern Munich circling for the services of the rapidly improving Dest, Germany seemed his next port of call. But the Munich club hadn't bargained on Catalan giants Barcelona entering the fray with a €21million ($25.5million) bid on October 1 2020.
Ajax accepted the offer and Dest went to Barcelona to join Dutch manager Ronald Koeman at Camp Nou. "I always follows my dreams and I fight for this, to wear this shirt," Dest told fcbarcelona.com.
Dest made his Barcelona debut on October 4 2020, coming on as a substitute in the 75th minute during the 1-1 draw with Sevilla. In doing so, he became the first American to play for FC Barcelona and only the fifth US player to feature in La Liga.
He scored his first Barcelona goal in the 4-0 away win at Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on November 24 2020. The goal characterised Dest's pace as he drove into the Kiev box and finished low with his right foot. He had become the first American to score for FC Barcelona.
The sky's the limit for Dest in the Barcelona colours, having flown under the radar for many years in the Ajax youth ranks, the swift right back is now ready to leave top level opponents in his vapour trail.
Dest and the USMNT
Dest's career for the USMNT is a happy accident after being found by former US Under-20 assistant coach Dave van den Bergh in a trawl for American talent in the Netherlands.
"I was in touch with Ajax about a player that possibly could join them and I asked, 'Are there any other players in your system you know of that have American passports?' They came back to me and said, 'We have a kid in the Under-17s who has dual citizenship, would you want to take a look at him?'" Van den Bergh told The Guardian.
Dest had largely slipped the attention of Netherlands national team coaches but Holland's loss was the USA's gain as a quickly improving right-back had joined the US ranks.
He played for the USA's U-17s in the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India as the young American side were knocked out in the quarter-finals by England.
Dest was named in the best XI at the 2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championships and started in the final as the USA beat Mexico to take gold.
This warmed Dest up for a shot at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland where the US side again reached the quarter-finals. The young USA side lost narrowly to Ecuador but it was the previous round of 16 match that was eye-catching as Dest's USA beat a fancied France side 3-2. Dest set up the winning goal with a long-range shot, parried into the path of Justin Rennicks, who slotted home.
Dest's senior American debut was only a matter of time and he made his first appearance for the USMNT against Mexico on September 6 2019 in a 3-0 defeat.
In October 2019, Dest settled the question of his national team of choice by publicly announcing he would stick with the USMNT despite strong interest from the Netherlands.
"In the end it was a decision based on feelings and emotions and therefore I chose Team USA," Dest told ajax.nl.
His boss at the USMNT Gregg Berhalter was equally pleased with the decision: "We are thrilled to have Sergino commit to our program. He is an exceptional young player with a bright future. Our youth national teams gave him the platform to showcase his talents on the world stage and now he will continue his progress with us at the senior level," he told espn.com
The fight between the USA and the Netherlands for Dest's representation shows just how far the introverted Dest has come from street football in Almere. Dest looks set to be centre stage for years to come for both Barcelona and the USMNT.
Sergino Dest's parents raised him in Almere, Holland. His father is Surinamese/American and his mother is Dutch.
His soccer idol is Brazilian legend Ronaldinho.
Away from sport, Dest enjoys watching movies and listening to music. His favourite film is Creed and his favourite musical artist is Drake.
Sergino Dest FIFA
Sergino Dest's overall rating on FIFA 21 is 75, with a potential of 86.
Sergino Dest News
- Mar 29, 2021