Less than a month after making his senior international debut for the United States men’s national team, Netherlands-born defender Sergino Dest was left off the USMNT roster for upcoming CONCACAF Nations League games against Cuba and Canada.
Just 18 years old, Dest has broken into the starting lineup with Ajax this season, drawing interest from the Royal Dutch Football Association. According to multiple reports in the Netherlands, Oranje manager Ronald Koeman recently met with Dest to convince him to switch his international allegiance. Dest, whose father is American, has represented the U.S. at various youth levels, including at the FIFA under-20 World Cup earlier this year, but remains eligible to play for the three-time senior World Cup runner-up.
That wouldn’t be the case if he took the field for the U.S. this month. Unlike the friendly matches against Mexico and Uruguay that Dest started for the U.S. in September, competitive games — like the Nations League — would permanently tie Dest to the American program.
However, in announcing his 26-player squad on Wednesday, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter left the door open for Dest to rejoin the Stars and Stripes.
“I understand there is going to be a lot of attention surrounding the availability of Sergino in this next camp,” Berhalter told U.S. Soccer’s website. “I’ve had conversations with Sergino, the conversations were positive, and the content of these conversations is going to remain private.”
Here’s the full roster:
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Atlanta United; Sean Johnson, New York City FC; Zack Steffen, Fortuna Dusseldorf (Germany)
Defenders: Reggie Cannon, FC Dallas; Nick Lima, San Jose Earthquakes; Aaron Long, New York Red Bulls; Daniel Lovitz, Montreal Impact (Canada); Matt Miazga, Reading (England); Tim Ream, Fulham (England); DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle (England); Walker Zimmerman, LAFC
Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson, Philadelphia Union; Michael Bradley, Toronto FC (Canada); Sebastian Lletget, LA Galaxy; Weston McKennie, Schalke (Germany); Christian Pulisic, Chelsea; Cristian Roldan, Seattle Sounders; Wil Trapp, Columbus Crew; Jackson Yueill, San Jose Earthquakes
Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC (Canada); Paul Arriola, D.C. United; Corey Baird, Real Salt Lake; Tyler Boyd, Besiktas (Turkey); Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders; Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen (Germany); Gyasi Zardes, Columbus Crew
Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic rejoins the national team after a tough spell with the English power. The 21-year-old skipped the Uruguay match to return to London early but hasn’t made a Premier League appearance since August, although he did play the full 90 minutes (and notched an assist) in last week’s Carabao Cup win over fourth-tier Grimsby Town. With Canada the tougher of the two matches, Pulisic is not expected to be released early this time.
Veterans Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley return to the squad after missing last month’s matches because of club commitments. So do England-based defenders Matt Miazga and DeAndre Yedlin, who both recently came back from injury, and Paul Arriola, who wasn’t available last month because of family reasons. “We have some key players that have been out, but it’s nice to get them back into the fold,” Berhalter said. Tyler Adams, John Brooks, Alfredo Morales and Tim Weah remain sidelined by injuries, while winger Duane Holmes was overlooked.
The biggest surprise on the squad was the inclusion of 18-year-old Philadelphia Union midfielder Brenden Aaronson, who has played more than 1,600 minutes this season for MLS’s fourth-best club. Aaronson is the only player included who hasn’t been in camp before.
“Entering this competitive phase, one thing that’s important is we continue some of the younger guys along, integrate some new players into camp, but also have a familiar base,” Berhalter said. “We think that continuity will help in our performance.”
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