KANSAS CITY, Mo. – If there's an MLS award for “Most Ebullient New Dad,” Dom Dwyer would have to be among the front-runners.
Six days after he and his wife, US international Sydney Leroux Dwyer, welcomed Cassius Cruz into the world, Sporting Kansas City's center forward was still beaming about the new arrival – and glad to still be sleeping at night.
“He sleeps like an angel," Dwyer told MLSsoccer.com last week, before the club's Saturday night away match vs. the San Jose Earthquakes (10:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE). “I've barely heard him cry. He slept four hours last night, straight, without waking up. He'll wake up for five to 10 minutes, feed and then go back to sleep. He's a very good boy at the moment.
“I'm a pretty energetic person. I don't sleep that much. I can kind of function with a little less sleep. But I've still been getting my hours in, so I'm pretty surprised right now. I'm waiting for the little terror.”
Dwyer, the second new father in what has become a 2016 baby boom for Sporting, said his son's name won out over a myriad of other possibilities.
“It's a name I've always loved,” he said. “We picked through millions and millions of names, and that was the one that kind of stuck out for me. Sydney's favorite athlete is Muhammad Ali, and his [birth] name was Cassius Clay, so I'm sure that had something to do with it with her. But I just like the name 'Cassius.'
“'Cruz' is the same. I love the name 'Cruz.' We actually talked about that for a first name, but I think [David] Beckham has some kids, and my friends reminded me that he has a son named 'Cruz,' so I wasn't going to go that route.”
Center back Matt Besler is also adjusting to life as a father. His wife, Amanda, gave birth to daughter Parker Rhea on Sept. 2 – 10 days before her predicted due date, while Besler was with the USMNT in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for a World Cup qualifier in which he scored his first international goal.
“You're just on a new schedule, and you have a new human that fully relies on you, but it's been great so far,” Besler told MLSsoccer.com last week. "My wife's done an unbelievable job, making sure that we're on the right schedule. But we've sort of settled in at home and found our rhythm, so everything's going well so far.
“I think what I've noticed, the biggest change, is that it's a different kind of sleep. You can still get the correct amount of sleep, but it's just a different kind. It's lighter, because the first couple of weeks, every little sound or thing that goes on with the baby, you're kind of up making sure that she's okay.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Benny Feilhaber and his wife, Michelle, became parents for the second time in March with the arrival of their daughter Julia. Neither the league nor the club has a paternity leave policy, but all three players have been fortunate to not require one with their new arrivals.
“I wouldn't want to have a leave unless there's some kind of special circumstance where the father needs to be home more often,” Feilhaber said. “Then maybe. But for me, that's not the case.”
Sporting are chasing a sixth straight post-season berth in MLS play. And after being knocked out of CONCACAF Champions League contention via a 2-1 home loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, manager Peter Vermes needs all available hands down the stretch.
“I'm sure if I asked Peter for some time, or I needed some time off, that he would give it to me,” Dwyer said. “But I want to play. We're right in the season. I know my little boy wants some trophies, and I want to win.”