On July 27, 2019, Sergiño Dest made his debut in the Ajax first team. He did it in the Super Cup. And that day on the field there were many of the players who will jump onto the field today. There was Daley Blind, his teammate, while at PSV there were Gakpo, Dumfries and Bergwijn. With the young Timber, Taylor and Noa Lang he coincided in the ajacied subsidiary.
However, in the Khalifa stadium, those good acquaintances and former colleagues will be rivals.
Dest, born 22 years ago in Almere, half an hour from the Johan Cruyff Arena, decided to join the United States, being able to play with the Netherlands. It was a mistake in the Matrix. An exception to the rule. A player who goes against the current, who rules out a triple runner-up in the world and a Eurocup winner and chooses a team without tradition.
He did it when he was very young, still a promise. Van der Bergh, a former Dutch international who played 51 games with Rayo, had some responsibility. He works in the US Federation and was the one who alerted that Dest had a double passport from his parent, an army veteran, born in Brooklyn of Surinamese origin, and married to a Dutch woman.
After the tip-off, the US got its act together. At the end of 2016, they called him up for the sub-17. “I remember having limited English when I applied to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida,” he explained. But the reception was good. The following year, he was called up for the Under-17 World Cup in India. Tim Weah and Josh Sargent were already on that team, who are also in Qatar. And in September 2019 he received the absolute alternative to the orders of Gregg Berhalter.
They were two friendlies and he could still change his choice. But all that continuity and stability in the project convinced Dest. When he received the call from the Dutch Federation it was too late. “My heart told me that the United States was the best option. I had played in their youth teams and I feel at home there”, reflects the right-back.
Now he has 22 appearances with the stars and stripes, three of them in the World Cup, all as a starter. On the other hand, at Milan he has only been in the eleven twice. Against Iran he gave Pulisic the assist for the final 1-0. Against England he officially stopped Sterling (0-0).
For an incipient football like soccer, Dest is a rare bird since it has already worn the colors of historic clubs. He trained at Ajax, was signed by Barça for 21 million and is on loan at Milan. Between the three they add 16 European Cups
“I know almost all the guys there. I was born there, I speak your language. Yeah, it's going to be fun,” she says of the reunion.