Former Tyler Junior College Apache and current Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer looked at home as he returned to the Pat Hartley Soccer Complex for the first time in four years.
“I’ve been trying to find some extra time to come back and it just so happened that I had time. My friend Kyle is an assistant coach here and I wanted to see coach (Steve Clements),” Dwyer said. “Coach has so many championships now, I think he’s run out of fingers for the rings.”
Dwyer was part of two national championship teams while with TJC including being named the 2010 MVP of the national tournament. The team went 41-0-1 in the span of two years with Dwyer scoring 37 goals in his sophomore year alone.
Dwyer spent the 2011 season playing at the University of South Florida before being drafted by Sporting KC in the 2012 MLS Superdraft, the 16th overall pick. After only appearing in a handful of games in 2012, he looked to get more time on the pitch and was loaned out to Orlando City which he was not happy about.
“I thought I would be playing a lot more in the MLS and wasn’t thrilled about heading to Orlando because I wasn’t sure what to expect,” Dwyer said. “I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the team, the coaches, and the front office. I had underestimated them coming in. I knew I had something to prove and thought if I worked hard and stayed patient, my opportunity would come.”
He made the most of that opportunity helping lead Orlando City to a USL Pro Championship contributing four goals in the title match. Sporting KC took notice and recalled Dwyer for the remainder of its season including its playoff run. Dwyer scored the winning goal against the Houston Dynamo to take the Eastern Conference Final. The squad eventually finished the season winning the 2013 MLS Cup.
“It all happened so quickly. It’s hard at times because there in more pressure on you,” Dwyer said. “But I enjoy it. It has been awesome to play in packed out stadiums full of excited fans especially during playoffs. That was a special moment to celebrate with the guys.”
During the 2014 season, Dwyer continued his hot streak on goal setting a franchise record with 22 goals scored in a single season surpassing Predrag Radosavljjevic who set the record back in 1996. Despite his success, he said he’s still not entirely satisfied with himself.
“I like to set targets for myself to improve as a player. I told myself at the beginning of the season that I wanted to score 24 goals,” Dwyer said. “I wanted to make it but fell just a bit short.”
However, he was excited about being named to the MLS All-Star game this past season.
“It was an incredible experience. I got to play with guys like Clint Dempsey. I played with Thierry Henry who is my favorite player and I loved watching as a kid,” Dwyer said. “It was amazing to be around those caliber players and talk to them and get advice. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
With another successful season behind him, Dwyer said he’s looking to the future which might even include representing the US.
“I’m working on becoming a US citizen. My passport is eligible for another two years so and it’s looking like I will become a citizen in 2017,” Dwyer said. “I would love to represent the US. I have loved it ever since I first came here. I would love to play on the US Men’s National Team unless England calls which I don’t think will happen.”
Watching Dwyer practice and kick the ball around with the 2014 National Champion TJC soccer team, he fit in and it looked like a group of guys just playing soccer. For Dwyer, that’s what it’s all about.
“I just love football. I have some great memories here (at TJC). It’s crazy to think that it all started here four years ago,” Dwyer said. “If you had asked me then if I’d be in the position I am now, I would have said I don’t think so. It’s been an adventure and I’m just loving riding the wave.”
Update: Dwyer signed a contract extension with Sporting KC on December 17, 2014. More info on Sporting KC’s website here.