KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Dom Dwyer undertook a huge life change in 2015, when he became half of American soccer's new power couple. Now, Sporting Kansas City's star center forward is on the threshold of another big decision – and still deciding whether to step over it and into life as a U.S. citizen.
And despite his stated openness to a US national team call-up, the England-born Dwyer still hasn't decided whether to naturalize when he becomes eligible in February.
“I have to look at it a bit more with some lawyers, and see what I'm able to do and how quickly I'm able to do it, and if those opportunities come up for me if I continue to progress and do well,” Dwyer told reporters last week at Sporting's postseason media day. “I think there's more that I have to do to get myself onto the national team.”
“But like I said, I'll wait for my phone to ring. As soon as it does, my process begins – if it ever does. It's a journey for me, but I'm waiting just like you guys are.”
In the meantime, he'll spend the first part of his offseason taking a long-deferred honeymoon with wife Sydney Leroux. The two were married in January and announced the nuptials on Valentine's Day.
“We got married in-season, so I couldn't go,” he said. “Now I get to go and take a couple of weeks off, and then back at it again.”
Leroux is currently under contract to the NWSL's Western New York Flash, and Dwyer would like to see a deal done this offseason to bring her to two-time league champion FC Kansas City.
“That's very important for me,” he said. “I think it will make my life a lot easier, also. Less traveling trying to see each other. It would definitely make things calmer and able to focus a little more. I would love that. That's a dream of hers, and of course of mine as well. It's something we're pushing for and very hopeful that that can get done.
“But some things are kind of out of your control, so you've just got to sit back and keep focusing on what you can control and hoping that that gets done.”
Dwyer has been the subject of public interest from Orlando City SC, where he played on loan in 2013 and helped the Lions win a USL title when they were affiliated with Sporting, and the city just announced an expansion NWSL side. But last week, Dwyer reiterated his commitment to Sporting and his hopes for even more success following this year's U.S. Open Cup title and qualification for the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League.
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“I was actually pleased with how it went this year, and obviously there's a lot more that I want,” said Dwyer, who led Sporting with 12 goals in league play after a slow start and added another five in the Open Cup. “I was not pleased with certain things, and I'd like to be up there with the top scorers in the league, if not the top scorer in the league by a distance, and that wasn't the case this year. I think next year, if that opportunity comes, then that's something I'm going to push for.”
Dwyer hastened to clarify that he wasn't putting his own stats ahead of team success. Still, scoring 22 league goals and 24 across all competitions in 2014 raised his own expectations for offensive production.
“I always want more,” he said. “I'm always going to want more. I score 30 goals; I'm going to want more. We had a successful season this year, because we won a trophy, but we didn't win the (MLS) Cup, and we didn't win the Supporters Shield, and that's what we wanted. So we have Champions League next year, and we have all that stuff, and it's going to be an adventure.”
Taking on new adventures seems to be a common theme for Dwyer – and it's something he embraces.
“I think this has been my biggest growth year as a player,” he said. “I feel like I've experienced a lot of things and still got a long, long ways to go to establish myself. I feel targeted, in a way, by other teams. I kind of like that. It excites me. It gives me a thrill, and it really sort of makes you want to push more. I want to be a bigger part of this team. I want to affect it in the most positive ways I can: bring personality, bring something, bring whatever to help us win.
“I just want to win. I'm so focused on that. I feel like I'm obsessed sometimes. I want to be on a team that wins.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.