How Barcelona’s Dest Swoop Could Open Floodgate for USA Stars

Ajax defender Sergino Dest has become the latest recruit for Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, penning a five-year deal with the club.


The 19-year-old is thought to be costing Barcelona €25m and is believed to have snubbed Bayern Munich in favour of linking up with Koeman at the Nou Camp.

Dest has spent his youth in the Netherlands, but is a full United States international and can operate on either side of the defence, although right-back is his preferred position.

His move might not seem all that remarkable, but he will become only the fifth United States international to feature in La Liga, and only the second in almost a decade.

The first was Kasey Keller, who appeared for Rayo Vallecano back at the turn of the century, with Shaquell Moore the most recent, appearing six times for Levante between 2017 and 2019.

Dest’s arrival at Barcelona promises to herald a new era for players from the United States representing top European clubs.

The stage has already been set by Tyler Adams, the RB Leipzig player who bagged a historic goal in the Champions League quarter-final last season.

That made international headlines as the most important goal scored by an American in Champions League history, and only the fourth scored by an American in the competition’s history.

It seems that world football is now becoming aware of the talented players from the United States, and as the MLS grows in stature and quality, more players are likely to emerge and try their luck in Europe.

Dest might well have spent his formative years in the Netherlands, but on trips to hook up with the international side both him and Adams are sure to be role models for a new generation of American players.

There are plenty of exciting youngsters currently in MLS looking to make a move over to Europe.

For many years, veterans of the world stage have gone the other way, playing for big money at the end of their careers, but now it seems young players might be coming in the other direction. 

Bwin details that former Arsenal midfielder Gedion Zelalem is one such player likely to impress in MLS this season and with his European heritage, he could well soon be on a plane back to the major European leagues.

Zelalem was born in Germany, spent time in England and Scotland as a youth and is now looking to make a name for himself with New York City FC.

He is one of several exciting young players looking to burst out from under the shadow of the United States Women’s side.

They have been fighting for equal pay in the face of much more international success than the men’s side, but Dest’s move looks set to make headlines and highlight the progress of both genders in the United States.

Few players, if any, could be described as having made it in La Liga whilst representing the United States, but Sergino Dest is sure to buck that trend.

Along with Adams, Zelalem and other European-based players such as Reggie Cannon, Ulysses Llanez and Bryang Kayo, he is raising the profile of young Americans in the world game.

If his move to Barcelona is a success, he surely paves the way for more players representing the stars and stripes to become a success, not only in La Liga but also the Bundesliga, Serie A and of course, the Premier League.

Image via Barcelona CF on Twitter

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