Sergino Dest has committed his international football future to the United States, with the Ajax defender opting to play for the Stars and Stripes over the Netherlands.
According to Ajax's official Twitter account, the 18-year-old said it was an emotional decision to carry on playing for the USA after representing the country at youth level:
Dest added he personally spoke to Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman to inform him of his decision after becoming a starter for the Eredivisie champions this season. The player explained Koeman was disappointed, but that the former Ajax player and manager respected his choice.
According to U.S. Soccer, Dest said:
"I am happy to announce that I have decided to keep playing for the U.S. Men's National Team. 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. I am therefore dedicated to making the next 10-15 years a big success and will do my utmost to help the team play for titles."
Born in Almere, Netherlands, the player's father is Surinamese American, and Dest played for the USA at the under-17 and under-20 FIFA World Cup competitions.
The full-back has featured for the full international U.S. team in two friendlies, but he could have switched allegiances as he had not played in a competitive match.
U.S. sporting director Earnie Stewart said he is delighted the teenager will remain with the American team, per U.S. Soccer.
"We are excited that Sergino will continue with our program," said Stewart, a Netherlands native who spent much of his playing career in the Eredivisie. "In all of our discussions, Sergino expressed the comfort he feels within the group and his appreciation for the commitment the Federation has made along the way. As a dual national myself, I understand the choices that these young players face."
Dest appears ready to have a breakout campaign for Ajax this season, and the U.S. have secured the services of a major talent who should blossom in the years ahead.