Sergino Dest: Barcelona, USA Star Rising After El Clasico Debut

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There was a time when soccer in the United States was looked down upon by the elite leagues in Europe. A time when $73 million for a player from across the pond was unthinkable. My how times have changed.

From Christian Pulisic’s mega-money move from Dortmund to Chelsea to Gio Reyna turning heads in the Bundesliga, this week we’ll see us taking a look at the main American talents making a splash on the continent where the sport was born.

It’s the perfect time to do so as the United States Men’s National Team have a friendly against Wales on Nov. 12 (start time, 2:45pm ET) in Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. They will then play Panama on Nov. 16 in Wiener Neustadt, Austria to complete the pair of games they have scheduled this international break.

Due to COVID-19 outbreaks and public health precautions, the only previous action for the Stars & Stripes in 2020 was a Feb. 1 victory over Costa Rica by the score of 1-0.

Sergino Dest has taken a slightly different route to the main stage than the others members of the new American golden generation. Born in the Netherlands and coming through their youth system – he has never played in the United States, even as an amateur. 

Nevertheless, he chose the country of his father to represent when competing internationally. And what a coup that was for the USMNT. Speaking to ESPN whilst still at Ajax he explained why he had chosen the US set up over the country of his birth:

“A lot of people only want you when it’s going well. The USMNT helped me when it didn’t go well, and I’m thankful for that. They helped me through hard times, and if they hadn’t given me a chance, maybe I wouldn’t be here now with Ajax. Maybe I’d never have reached this level.”

Coming through Ajax’s storied youth set up (De Toekomst) the full-back went on to make 38 appearances for the Dutch powerhouse in all competitions. All but three of those appearances came in the 19/20 season where he managed to lay on four assists to his teammates from the right back slot.

Sergino Dest has also found the back of the net twice. Eight of his appearances for Ajax came in Europe’s premier club competition, the UEFA Champions League.

During the COVID affected transfer window, in the European off-season, he was signed by Ronald Koeman for Barcelona in a reported $30 million deal.

el clasico

The Dutch coach clearly saw something in the young American, who was then plying his trade in the Eredivisie. Definitely seen as one for the future at the Catalan club, that didn’t stop him from making his El Clasico debut – becoming the first American to do so in the history of the biggest clash in Spanish club football.

Sergino’s talent hasn’t gone unnoticed, as many pundits have said he could develop into one of the biggest talents that US soccer has ever seen.

fc barcelona

USMNT Golden Generation Profile Series

Christian Pulisic      Gio Reyna   Josh Sargent  Weston McKennie    Zack Steffen  Tyler Adams

Stuart Kavanagh is an up and coming journalist from Melbourne, Australia. A student of sports media, his passion for the world game, in particular, shines through. Always keen to discuss footballing matters, you can follow him on Twitter @futbolislife8

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