USMNT's Sergiño Dest leaves Ajax training camp in Qatar due to US-Iran tensions

USMNT international Sergiño Dest asked to leave Ajax's training camp in Qatar due to U.S.-Iran tensions. (Photo by Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Ajax defender Sergiño Dest, who decided to play for the United States men’s national team in October, has left his club’s midseason training camp in Qatar due to the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Iran, according to the BBC.

Following the killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani in an airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump, and Iran’s subsequent retaliation on a U.S. military base in Iraq, Dest asked if he could fly back to the Netherlands.

“Sergiño Dest has asked if he could leave Ajax's training camp in Qatar,” Ajax said in a statement, via the BBC. “He didn't feel comfortable. Ajax understands his request and has responded to it.”

The escalating situation between the US and Iran may have altered Ajax’s travel plans as well. According to ESPN, Ajax decided to fly to Qatar on a private plane instead of a commercial flight specifically to avoid flying over Iran and Iraq. The private plane flew over Egypt and Saudi Arabia instead. Dutch club PSV Eindhoven is also training in Qatar and looking for a non-commercial alternative to fly back to the Netherlands.

Additionally, the USMNT changed plans in response to U.S.-Iraq tensions. The USMNT canceled a training camp in Qatar last week due to the "developing situation in the region."

The 19-year-old Dest will train with Ajax’s reserve team in Amsterdam until the first team finishes camp and returns on Sunday.

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