Dom Dwyer is MLS's second-leading scorer. Through 19 games, Dwyer has netted 14 goals, including four game-winners. His 68 shots are the most in the league. The 23-year-old Sporting Kansas City forward is a budding star at the United States' top level.
He is also not American. Dwyer is a rare young European playing in MLS. In fact, he is English.
But he may not be for long -- kind of.
Dwyer was born in Cuckfield, England, and spent his youth career with English clubs Norwich City and King's Lynn. He also attended the College of West Anglia from 2006-2008. In 2009, Dwyer left for the U.S., where he won two national championships at Tyler Junior College. In his sophomore season, Dwyer was named national junior college player of the year. He played one season at Division I South Florida before being selected 16th overall by Sporting KC in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. In 2013, on loan at then USL Pro club Orlando City S.C., Dwyer set the league's single-season goal scoring record with 15 goals in 13 matches.
Back at Sporting KC, Dwyer is going after MLS records (Kansas City's single-season goals record is 18) ... and possibly a spot on the United States Men's National Team.
Dwyer established residence in the U.S. in 2009 and received a green card upon his signing with Sporting KC in 2012. If Dwyer continues on this patriotic pace, he can apply for U.S. citizenship in 2017 -- a year before the next World Cup.
Sporting KC is coming off a 2013 MLS Cup championship. Team President Robb Heineman is already campaigning for his young firecracker to play at the national level:
— Robb Heineman (@RobbHeineman) July 14, 2014
— Robb Heineman (@RobbHeineman) July 14, 2014
“Every player wants to play on the international stage,” Dwyer told MLSsoccer.com Tuesday. “I think if I were to get called in the future and have an opportunity, I think that's something every player would love to do and dream of.”
Not to dwell any more on the USMNT's Round of 16 loss, but the Yanks could have used a scoring presence like Dwyer up front after Jozy Altidore went down with a hamstring injury. Dwyer plays with USMNT World Cup stalwarts Matt Besler and Graham Zusi at Sporting KC.
Dwyer is not without English pride. The native Englishman still has a dream to play for The Three Lions. Although, after moving to MLS at such a young age, he recognizes that dream may be farfetched:
"If the offer ever came to me, I think it would be a difficult one to say no to," he says. "I'm from England, born and raised there, but I've been in the US for quite a few years and have a lot of love for this country and enjoy being here.
"But I don't know where I'll be in 2017. You don't know where you'll be tomorrow. So you have to just kind of take it as it comes, and if the opportunity comes -- I'm not sure if [England manager] Roy Hodgson's going to be calling me any time soon, so we'll just have to wait and see."
Dwyer is clearly having fun in the U.S. Dwyer felt comfortable enough in America to take a selfie after scoring a goal.
— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) July 6, 2014
Dwyer would be far from the first player to switch international allegiances to play for the USMNT in a World Cup. On Jurgen Klinsmann's 2014 squad, German-Americans Jermaine Jones, Fabian Johnson, Julian Green, John Brooks and Timothy Chandler, Norwegian-American Mikkel Diskerud and Icelandic-American Aron Johannsson, all recorded youth caps with other national programs (Jones even had three senior caps with the Germany Senior Team).
Dwyer, however, never played at the national level for powerhouse England. He would follow a similar path to Stuart Holden, who was born in Scotland, but moved to Sugar Land, Texas at age 10. Holden played college soccer at Clemson and joined the USMNT in time for the 2010 World Cup, where he played against England. Injuries derailed Holden, who plays for English club Bolton Wanderers, a chance to play in the 2014 World Cup.
In the past few weeks, Dwyer has Instagrammed this (with the caption: 5 years ago today me and my Fwends landed in America on a football scholarship! #NotABadDecision @kylenicholls10 @joesetchell):
And retweet this from MLS:
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 16, 2014
In other words, in the 21st century, there is a chance an Englishman may transition national allegiances to play soccer for the United States. By constitutional law, Dwyer can be an American citizen -- as American as any other voter -- by 2017. If all goes as planned, at age 27, he could be wearing red, white and blue.
The road to Russia has begun.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.
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