Soccer

Who is Sergiño Dest?: Barcelona’s New American Addition

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 26: Sergino Dest of Ajax during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax v Vitesse at the Johan Cruijff Arena on September 26, 2020 in Amsterdam Netherlands (Photo by Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates/Getty Images

Sergiño Dest — Barcelona’s latest rumored signing — is on the verge of becoming the 2nd American at the world-famous club. He is set to join fellow countryman Konrad De la Fuente at the La Liga side this week.

Already in Barcelona with the transfer essentially confirmed pending a medical, Dest has tough shoes to fill as Barcelona recently offloaded their previous right-back Nelson Semedo.

Before joining the Catalonian giants, Dest was Ajax’s first choice right back in the Netherlands. He had his breakout season just last year and was essential in the club’s first-place finish and Champions League run.

Dest’s transfer marks yet another American playing at the highest level in Europe. He joins Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Chris Richards and teammate De la Fuente as the only Americans in the Champions League.

Choosing America

Born in the Netherlands to a Dutch mother and American father, Sergiño Dest had options in choosing which nation to represent. Touted by both the Netherlands and the US, he ultimately chose the latter, citing his time with the American youth setup.

Choosing between two nations is certainly hard for anyone, albeit an 18-year-old kid, but Dest held confidence in his decision.

Dest made his senior international debut just a month before his official announcement and stuck with his father’s home nation ever since. USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter often speaks highly of the teenager and his future in the national team.

Playstyle

Employed as mainly a right-back, Sergiño Dest is a competent attacking force. His time at Ajax allowed him to develop a more free-flowing style, often seeing him in the attacking third. This skill should prove vital in an American side plagued by stagnant movement.

Barcelona had more experienced options to choose from at right-back, but Dest’s rise through the Ajax academy greatly impressed. While his age makes for an uncertain gamble in the transfer market, his knowledge of the game is unprecedented. Ajax’s academy is amongst the world’s best, deservingly so.

Players learn from a young age the concept of “total football” at Ajax. Ajax’s elegant yet simple approach to the sport makes most academy graduates seem more experienced despite their youth.

Dest is no different, and if manager Ronald Koeman utilizes him correctly, he will thrive in La Liga. Koeman himself already has high praise for the youngster who’s play persuaded Barcelona to sign him.

Sergiño Dest’s Impact on American Soccer

In recent times, American fans have been treated to a new generation of young talent abroad. While American soccer has shown great strides as of late, for much of its history, few players have reached the very top of world football.

Previously, when thinking of America’s top talent, the world saw the likes of Clint Dempsey at Fulham or Tim Howard at Everton. Great players in the Premier League, but never truly “world-class.” Sergiño Dest and this current generation can break this barrier and finally showcase America to the international footballing scene.

Americans already play at four of the world’s largest clubs in Chelsea, Juventus, Bayern Munich, and of course, Barcelona. Dest’s recent move continues the trend of young American talent going to world-renowned clubs.

Simply moving to a new club is no indication of success, but with Dest’s potential, don’t be surprised to see his name in headlines across the world in the next few years.

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