The team that gave Dom Dwyer a chance to further his professional career wants him back, and is willing to pay big money for him.
Orlando City SC has acquired the Tyler Junior College graduate from Sporting Kansas City for a potential cost of $1.6 million.
Orlando traded $900,000 in guaranteed allocation money plus more based on performance in the deal for Dwyer, who recently got his first call-up for the U.S. national team after becoming a United States citizen.
Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes praised Dwyer for his play on the field and for being a “tremendous ambassador” for the team.
“How do we replace Dom? I don’t know that we do. Go find another player maybe that gives you other strengths that you can work with. But tremendous player and a great guy for our club and that’s not going to be easy to replace,” Vermes said in a conference call Tuesday after the trade was announced.
Vermes added: “At the same time this is an incredible resource to help us navigate the salary cap over the next so many years.”
Dwyer scored a club record 22 goals for Sporting KC in 2014 and leaves the club with 57 in 128 games. He was recently named to the 2017 MLS All-Star team. In 15 games this season he has scored five goals.
He scored in his national team debut against Ghana this month. He also scored against Panama in the opening game of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Ironically, it was against Orlando City where Dwyer made his MLS debut after he was drafted by Sporting KC No. 16 overall in 2012. He came on in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup third round match against the then-USL (United Soccer League) in an eventual 3-2 victory.
After limited opportunities with Sporting KC, the team loaned him to Orlando City for the 2013 season. He scored 15 goals in 13 appearances, which prompted Sporting KC to bring him back.
He was loaned back to Orlando City for the USL Pro Championship game. He scored four goals to lead Orlando to a 7-4 victory before returning to Sporting KC.
He scored the game-winning goal for Sporting KC in the Eastern Conference Final in 2013 with the team going on to win the MLS Cup.
Orlando City became a MLS franchise in 2015. Two years later, it is bringing Dwyer back.
“Our group has worked hard to find potential additions to the Club and we are thrilled to finalize this deal and add an important piece to the roster in Dom,” Orlando City CEO Alex Leitao said in a statement. “Dom is a fantastic player who recently gave us a glimpse of what he is capable of with the U.S. Men’s National Team and will keep doing so with the Club and at the MLS All-Star game next week.”
Dwyer, 26, is married to women’s national team forward Sydney Leroux, who plays for FC Kansas City of the National Women’s Soccer League. The couple lives with their infant son Cassius in the Kansas City area.
Dwyer and Leroux are the first husband-and-wife duo to each score for the U.S. national soccer team. They are just the fourth married couple to play for the United States, joining Jim Gabarra and Carin Jennings, Claudio Reyna and Danielle Egan and Zach Loyd and Casey Nogueira. Egan’s only goal was in 1993, four years before she married Reyna.
Born in England, Dwyer came to the U.S. as a college student, playing at TJC and leading the Apaches to national championships in 2009 and 2010 before transferring to the University of South Florida for the 2011 season. He was the 16th overall pick for Sporting Kansas City in the 2012 draft and has 67 career goals across all competitions for Sporting KC.
NOTES: Former TJC standout Oniel Fisher is a member of the Jamaican national team which will play the U.S. in the Gold Cup final on Wednesday in San Clara, California. … Fisher arrived at TJC for the 2011 season and continued the dominant success for the Apaches, winning 38 games over the next two seasons, including the 2012 NJCAA national championship. Fisher concluded his collegiate career at the University of New Mexico and currently plays for Seattle Sounders FC of the MLS.
The Associated Press contributed to this report