On a weekday in March, Sporting Kansas City striker Dom Dwyer skipped his typical morning routine. Rather than getting dressed for practice, he put on a suit and drove to a Kansas City courthouse.
Within an hour, after an oath of allegiance and a naturalization ceremony, the England-born Dwyer secured United States citizenship. In his next meeting with the media, he said he would sit back and “hope the phone rings” for a potential U.S. men’s national team spot.
That call finally came Sunday.
For the first time in his career, Dwyer will don a U.S. men’s national team jersey after he was included on the roster for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The tournament is scheduled for July 7-26 across 14 cities in the U.S.
“It’s an incredible honor to represent the United States for the first time,” Dwyer said in a statement. “I want to thank everyone who has helped me make this goal a reality.”
He will have some familiar faces in camp. Sporting Kansas City defenders Matt Besler and Graham Zusi are also part of coach Bruce Arena’s roster.
“The Gold Cup is an extremely important competition for everyone involved, and we hope to replicate the success of 2013 by winning the championship,” Besler said. “With World Cup qualifiers continuing in the fall, it’s crucial that we keep improving as a team and perform at a high level.”
While Besler and Zusi are veterans for the American team, a handful of Arena’s selections indicate he will use the Gold Cup to scout some new talent. Dwyer is a fitting example.
Dwyer moved from his native England to the United States in 2009, when he attended Tyler Junior College in Texas. He has lived in the country ever since and acquired his green card in 2012. He is married to U.S. women’s national team and FC Kansas City forward Sydney Leroux, who holds dual citizenship in the United States and Canada.
Dwyer figures to get some playing time in his first call-up. He is one of only three forwards on the Gold Cup roster, along with Jordan Morris and Juan Agudelo. Dwyer has 15 goals in 15 appearances with Sporting KC this season.
Besler and Zusi have make up half of the Sporting KC back line, the cornerstone of the league’s best defense. The club has allowed an MLS-low 12 goals in 18 matches and leads the Western Conference by five points after Saturday’sroad win against the LA Galaxy.
The Americans will immediately meet for camp ahead of a friendly against Ghana on Saturday. In the Gold Cup, they will face Panama on July 8, Martinique on July 12 and Nicaragua on July 15.