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U.S. youth international Dest signs first pro deal with Ajax

Ajax v AEK Athens - UEFA Champions League Group E

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 19: General view inside the stadium during the Group E match of the UEFA Champions League between Ajax and AEK Athens at Johan Cruyff Arena on September 19, 2018 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

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After excelling in the Ajax and international youth ranks the last two years, Sergiño Dest has earned his first professional contract.

The 18-year-old put pen to paper on Monday to sign a two-and-a-half year contract with Dutch giants Ajax. Dest has been a regular this season with the Ajax U-19 team and has also made five appearances for the Ajax Reserves, scoring one goal.

“I’m very happy with this contract”, Dest said. “On to great things! I want to play as many games as possible with the Ajax Reserves, and become a steady asset. And I hope to make my debut in Ajax 1 this season.”

Dest, who has a Dutch mother and American father, has been in the Ajax youth system since 2012. He was discovered by U.S. Soccer scouts as a youngster and was given his debut with the U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team by then-coach John Hackworth. He went on to play and star at outside back at the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017 before playing a role in the CONCACAF U-20 Championships last month, helping the U.S. U-20s qualify for next year’s World Cup in Poland.

While it’s still very early, Dest’s combination of speed and technique makes him an intriguing outside back prospect moving forward.