From King's Lynn to the US national team: The story of Dom Dwyer and his remarkable 10-year rise

Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets! 👏🏻
Betfair
New customers only, place a min €/£10 bet on any Sportsbook market at odds of at least 1.2 (1/5) and we’ll give you €/£30 in free bets. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. See below for full T&C's.
Claim Bonus

FROM ENGLAND'S NON-LEAGUE TO AMERICA'S TOP-FLIGHT

As kids, most of us start to realise pretty soon whether or not we're destined for a life in professional football. You could be a late bloomer of course, realising your potential in your mid-teens and possibly even later - queue some sort of pun referencing Jamie Vardy and his rise to international stardom through non-league football. The vast majority who are good enough though waste little time waiting to be scouted by professional clubs.

The very best youngsters get snapped up by academies, where their skills are carefully nurtured and by 16, they're ready for their first pro contract and life all goes accordingly. For many however, professional deals do not come and because education has taken a back seat due to the assumption that a life in football will do just fine, thousands of kids are left with limited options should they get released from their respective clubs at a young age.

Dominic Dwyer, the Sussex-born striker who spent six years in Norwich City's youth system between 2000-2006, experienced rejection when he was released by the Canaries 13 years ago, and dropped into England's non-league pyramid with Staines Town. The forward, then aged just 16, lasted just one season at the Surrey outfit, before moving to King's Lynn - the club he had begun his footballing career before joining Norwich eight years earlier.

Drafted in because the Norfolk side were a striker short for their game against Grantham FC, Dwyer lead the line and scored four goals on his debut. The rest was history for Dwyer at King's Lynn; he went on to establish himself in the first team, becoming a pivotal figure for the club as they looked to climb up England's non-league ladder. A trial to earn a scholarship at the Tyler Junior College in Texas in 2009 was to completely change Dwyer's life for the better, however.

The young forward was accepted onto the scholarship scheme, and made his way across the Pond for a fresh challenge in America. Dwyer won two national championships and earned the coveted National Junior College Player of the Year Award having scored 37 goals for his new side as a sophomore. After two years playing for Tyler College, where Dwyer left having netted 52 goals in 42 appearances, the now 28-year-old moved to the University of South Florida, where he spent a season playing for the South Florida Bulls in 2011.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY SIGN BRITISH IMPORT

16 goals in 21 games saw scouts sit up and take notice of Dwyer, and before long he was included in the MLS SuperDraft, selected by Sporting Kansas City to represent them in the forthcoming 2012 season. Dwyer's dream had become a reality; he was back in the professional game, but little did he know the scale of success he'd have in the USA.

A staggered opening season with Kansas, which saw game time limited, meant that in order to gain first team experience he'd have to briefly drop down a league. Dwyer joined United Soccer League (USL) club Orlando City on loan in 2013 and made an instant impact in the American third-tier, scoring two and assisting one in his opening three games for the up-and-coming club. His first career hat-trick came against Antigua Barracuda in a resounding 7-2 win for Orlando, and just a month later, the England-born starlet scored his 14th goal of the campaign, making him the all-time record goalscorer in the USL Pro.

Understandably, Dwyer was recalled to Kansas City and took little time registering his first goal in the MLS, finding the net in a 3-2 defeat against New York Red Bulls. Throughout the following five seasons, Dwyer would go on to score 57 goals for Sporting Kansas City in 128 games, finishing as the club's top goalscorer for three consecutive seasons between 2014-2016. Dwyer was the talk of the league, everyone was astonished by what they were seeing from this once unknown striker from the east of England.

MOST EXPENSIVE PLAYER IN MLS HISTORY

Dwyer's exploits at Sporting Kansas earned him credidation as one of the MLS' most sought after players, and in 2017 he moved to Orlando City - the MLS club born out of the USL team that he had spent a brief spell on loan at in 2013.

The move cost Orlando City around £1.2 million, making him the most expensive player in MLS history, eclipsing the previous highest fee paid when Kevin Molino joined Minnesota United from Orlando City for £540,000 the same year. Orlando's chief executive, Alex Leitao, said that the move was a 'no-brainer' as Dwyer already knew the league inside out from his time spent at Kansas.

“He’s an All-Star, he’s a top scorer, he already knows the league, he doesn’t need time to get adapted — not with the city, not with the team, not with the league — so, for us it was a no-brainer.”

41 league goals in his opening two seasons with Orlando City has already seen Dwyer become the clubs all-time third-top goalscorer - just seven shy of Brazilian legend Kaka, who bagged 25 during his time with the Florida club. At 28, Dwyer is expected to become Orlando's all-time leading goalscorer - he currently finds himself just 26 goals behind current leader Cyle Larin, the Canada international now plying his trade in Turkey with Besiktas.

Dwyer signed a three-year contract extension with Orlando City last January, contracting him to the club until 2021.

INTERNATIONAL CALL-UP

Having departed English shores for America in 2009, Dwyer gained permanent citizenship after eight years of residence in the U.S in March of 2017. Just three months later he was called up to the U.S national squad for the forthcoming 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, scoring in a 2-1 win over Ghana on his debut. He followed his opening strike with a second goal in as many matches against Panama - suddenly, everyone knew that Dwyer could cut it on the main stage.

From humble beginnings in the quiet market town of King's Lynn, to becoming the most expensive player in MLS history, Dom Dwyer's rise to the top in America is not only impressive, but also extremely refreshing to see. Norman Cesar, the secretary of the recently rebranded King's Lynn Town FC, admitted that he always felt his former striker was destined for greatness.

"I'm really amazed that no one picked him up in this country," said Cesar, talking to the Telegraph in 2017.

"We could always see the potential in him at King's Lynn. Obviously we were disappointed from a club point of view to lose him but so pleased with what he has achieved. It's a great bit of publicity for us.

"He was always a workaholic in training. He was always a bit of a joker but when it came to football he was so, so serious.

"He was a wonderful chap, he mixed in with every one, was totally professional. He had no airs or graces, just one of the lads.

"We were ever so pleased when he broke into the first team but that was just five or six months before he went off to America," he added.

Dwyer's left-field switch to the US was the making of his career; a player released from the clutches of a professional football club aged 15, it could have been easy for him to settle for a life in England's non-league, but he took a leap of faith ten years ago and is now massively reaping the rewards.

Dwyer is now married to U.S woman's international Sydney Leroux, who also plays for Orlando in the National Woman's Soccer League. The couple are currently expecting their second child together, due to be born in the summer; with the genes from two professional footballers as parents, don't be surprised to see Dwyer Jnr. tearing it up in the MLS in years to come.

🌟 Bet £5 & Get £30 in Free Bets 🌟
BetVictor
New Customers Only. Deposit via Credit/Debit card only and bet £5 @ odds 2.0+ within 7 days of registering; Cashed out bets excluded. Get 2x £10 free bets, valid for set types (1 @ odds 2.0+ or greater) & a £10 casino bonus, wagered 40x to withdraw; Bonuses expire in 7 days; Geographical restrictions apply. Click for T&C?s. 18+|begambleaware.org
Claim Bonus

FREE BETS & OFFERS

💫🔷 20/1 FOR FRANKIE DETTORI TO RIDE A WINNER AT ROYAL ASCOT 🔷💫
William Hill
New customers using DETTORI20. A maximum £1 can be stake at 20/1. Bets placed from 09:00 on 14/06/2019 until 14:30 on 18/06/2019. Returns paid in 4 x £5 free bets. Player & currency restrictions & terms apply.
Claim Bonus
🔶 Bet £10 on the first race at Royal Ascot & get £5 free for EVERY other race 🔶
888
New customers only (+18) • £10 deposit using promo code "RACE888" • Minimum stake £10 at odds of 1/2 (1.5) • Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free bet stakes not included in returns • Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. General deposit method, withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply
Claim Bonus
☘️🎩 Bet £20 get £50 at Royal Ascot 🎩☘️
Paddy Power
New customer offer, place a single £20 (or £10 e/w) Sports bet in the 14:30 Ascot, 18th June and get a £10 free bet for each of the subsequent races on the Card. Deposits using credit/debit cards or PayPal only. Free bets are only valid for the specified race and are awarded when the qualifying bet has been settled. Free bet stakes not returned with winnings. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🚀 Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets!
Skybet
New Customer Offer 18+. T&Cs Apply. Free bets non withdraw-able. Single & E/W bets only. Free bet stake not included in returns. 30 day free bet expiry. gambleaware.org.
Claim Bonus
⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
Bet365
Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits.Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits Stake. Time Limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🎲 DOUBLE THE ODDS + £20 CASINO BONUS 🎲
Grosvenor Sport
Only valid for new registrations to www.grosvenorcasinos.com. Existing members do not qualify. Bet must be placed using real money in combination with the Odds Boost Token. Offer applies to Sport bets only. Maximum total stake is £10. Each way bets are a maximum of £5 each way (£10 total stake). If you stake less than £10 you will forfeit the remaining amount of the odds boost token. 'Double the odds' refers to fractional odds only. For the avoidance of doubt, it is the profit from the eligible bet that is doubled. Extra winnings are paid in cash upon bet settlement. Customers have 60 days after registration to use the Odds Boost token. A maximum of 1 offer is available per person, household, IP, device, e-mail address or payment details. Members depositing with Neteller or Skrill will not be eligible for this promotion. Member bet limits also apply to Odds Boost token placement.
Claim Bonus
👌 MATCHED DEPOSIT UP TO £25! 👌
Novibet
| New UK customers only | min bet £10 | match max £25 free bet | Min of 3 selections in accumulator | min odds per selection 7/10 (1.70) | Free bet stake not returned | Certain Markets/sports/payment methods restrictions apply | Qualifying bet must be made within 30 days | Free bet valid for 30 days | T&Cs Apply
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets! 👏🏻
Betfair
New customers only, place a min €/£10 bet on any Sportsbook market at odds of at least 1.2 (1/5) and we’ll give you €/£30 in free bets. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. See below for full T&C's.
Claim Bonus
🏆 Get a RISK FREE bet on any sports market up to £20 - money back in CASH if it loses! 🏆
Paddy Power
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your FIRST bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is €/£20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.
Claim Bonus
⚫️ £30 Welcome Offer! ⚫️
Betway
*New UK & Ireland customers only. Min Deposit: £10. First deposit matched up to £30. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Credit Card, Debit Card & PayPal deposits only. Full terms apply.
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets! 💪🏻
888
New customers only – Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. General deposit method & withdrawal restrictions apply & full T&C’s apply
Claim Bonus
🌟 Bet £5 & Get £30 in Free Bets 🌟
BetVictor
New Customers Only. Deposit via Credit/Debit card only and bet £5 @ odds 2.0+ within 7 days of registering; Cashed out bets excluded. Get 2x £10 free bets, valid for set types (1 @ odds 2.0+ or greater) & a £10 casino bonus, wagered 40x to withdraw; Bonuses expire in 7 days; Geographical restrictions apply. Click for T&C?s. 18+|begambleaware.org
Claim Bonus
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets! 💥
William Hill
New online customers only, min £10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 3 X£10, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply
Claim Bonus
Get a Now TV Sky Sports Mobile Month Pass when you bet £5 at Kwiff
Kwiff
18+|PLEASE BET RESPONSIBLY|BEGABMLEAWARE.ORG|NEW CUSTOMER OFFER ONLY|£5 MIN DEPOSIT|PLACE ANY SPORTS BET TO QUALIFY FOR THE NOW TV SKY SPORTS MOBILE MONTH PASS|MUST BE CONTACTABLE VIA SMS| T&Cs APPLY
Claim Bonus
⚡️ Claim £5 No Deposit! ⚡️
Energy Bet
New players 18+ only. Must email to get bonus. Offer valid 19/07/18 – 31/12/2019. Subject to 7x wagering req. (within 30 days). Max. withdrawal £50. Further T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org
Claim Bonus
When The Fun Stops. Stop.