By Tom Drissi
While City fans worry about whether or not we’ve got the goals in our ranks to return to the EPL, a quietly released youth product is scoring goals aplenty across the Atlantic and has spent his summer fielding offers from Champions League clubs across Europe…
Dom Dwyer’s story is an interesting one. In some ways it sounds all too familiar: a released academy player in the UK using their talent to at least get a college scholarship stateside. Yet in other ways Dwyer’s footballing story is as cool and quirky a tale of any Englishman playing professionally today.
Very few English-rejects-turned-college-players have gone on to have professional MLS careers, and none have managed to reach the heights and profile that Dwyer has achieved in the States.
Despite being far from a well-known figure in this most glorious part of the world, Dwyer has strong ties to Norfolk. He attended secondary school at Springwood High in King’s Lynn and the College of West Anglia. Dwyer cut his footballing teeth at the region’s finest club spending 6 years as a Canary in the early 2000s before being released in 2006 due largely to injury woes.
However if the prolific Instagrammer’s uploads are anything to go by, the forward looks back happily on his years in Yellow and Green, with no hard feelings held towards the club that didn’t believe he had what it took to make the grade professionally. Oh and when I call Dwyer a prolific Instagrammer, I mean the man has literally picked up yellow cards for his selfie-habit (in a goal celebration during a 2014 MLS game against Chicago Fire).
After being let go by City, the striker played non-League football for a couple of years before being spotted by USA-based scout (and former Chelsea goalkeeper for those who remember him) Joe McLaughlin. Dwyer, as an injury prone 18 year old in England’s 6th tier, had given up on the dream of making it professionally and speaks openly at how his move to the US to play college ‘soccer’ (*cringes*) for Texas and then Florida was done mainly in order to “get a free degree”, following a long list of UK academy-rejects turned US college scholars before him.
A successful college career saw him drafted by MLS side Sporting Kansas City in 2012 as a respectable pick No.16. Dwyer however would prove to be somewhat of a late bloomer though, and at 22 he found himself out on loan in the USL Pro (the USA’s 3rd division) with Orlando City. It was this loan move and the accompanying game time in Lake Buena Vista that saw the striker find his scoring touch professionally, and that knack doesn’t appear to have deserted him in his return to Sporting Kansas City where he has reached double digits in 3 consecutive seasons, including 24 goals in 40 game across all competitions in his 2014 breakout year.
Fast forward to 2016 and Dwyer is a true star. He’s at the top of the MLS salary cap for non-designated players, which is no shame at all considering DP status is typically reserved for ageing Europeans (Lampard/Gerrard/Keane), stars from Copa Libertadores sides (Piatti/Higuain/Urruti) or US internationals (Dempsey/Jones/Bradley). And on that mention of the US national team, further testament to the impression Dwyer has made in MLS is that he is heavily linked with a call up to the US setup upon the receipt of his American passport, which he is in line to receive in 2017.
Besides wages and a career for the USMNT in the pipeline, Dwyer’s exploits on the field have also seen the City youth product spend the past summer window linked with moves back across the Atlantic.
Perennial Greek Champions & UEFA Champions League regulars Olympiacos were most heavily linked and Kansas City were rumoured to have even accepted a bid of €4.5 million for the striker. Dwyer turned the move down, along with rejecting a transfer to big spending Wolves on deadline day.
However the Englishman made sure he’d had his fun misleading and bamboozling the media before making public his desire to stay put. These tricks at the media and rumour mill’s expense included selfies in front of British Airways flights on deadline day as well as his “off to Greece” remarks made in front of the press to teammate Benny Feilhaber in August.
Whilst Dwyer speaks openly about his desire to play in Europe one day, he rejected the opportunities this summer for family reasons. The striker married Canadian-born USWNT star Sydney Leroux in 2015 and American soccer’s power couple are expecting their first child this year, meaning Dwyer was hesitant to uproot his family in making a switch to Europe.
For now Dom Dwyer appears to be staying put and looks set to add to his impressive and ever growing YouTube reel of MLS goals, but we don’t know what the future holds. Champions League football is a possibility, and the chance to represent his adopted home at the 2018 World Cup in Russia could very well be on the cards.
I for one hope he does himself and all of us proud, and should I ever see him scoring on the big stage I won’t wait for a second before claiming him for Norwich as ‘one of our own’. The boy-done-good from King’s Lynn is, and will always be, a Canary and after a decade away from the club it’s wonderful to see that he hasn’t forgotten it.
You can follow Tom on Twitter @OutsidetheBig5
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