Sergiño Dest spoke to the media on Wednesday for the first time since recommitting to the US men’s national team program, explaining his decision to represent the United States instead of the Netherlands – and promising a positive result against Canada in Friday’s Concacaf Nations League clash in Orlando (7 pm ET | ESPN2, UniMás, TUDN in US; OneSoccer.ca in Canada).
After months of will-he-or-won’t-he drama, the talented dual-national teenager publicly picked the USMNT late last month and will be permanently cap-tied to his father’s homeland should he, as is expected, take the field in either of this month’s CNL matches. Though he’s young, Dest sounded calm and resolute about his choice, and ready to move forward.
“It felt great, because everybody was pulling at me, pulling on me, and everybody wanted to know an answer,” the Ajax fullback said of the process. "I just took my time and I think I made the right decision.”
When asked if his family played a major influence in the process, Dest, who turned 19 earlier this month, made clear it was his call and no one else’s.
“I just made my own decision. I don’t think they had a lot of influence,” he said. “I think it’s my life and if it’s not working out well, I’m the one who is dealing with the trouble. So that’s the reason why I want to make my own decisions, and I’m old enough to make them.”
The USMNT are still smarting from last month’s 2-0 loss to Les Rouges in Toronto, and must win on Friday at Exploria Stadium to keep alive their hopes of winning Group A of CNL League A and advancing to the new tournament’s knockout stages.
“That’s not going to happen the next game,” Dest pledged. “Friday, we’re not going to lose.”