All eyes were on KC Thursday morning…
Major League Soccer held its annual draft at the KC Convention Center, which was broadcast live on ESPN2.
And as I predicted, Sporting KC chose a striker with their first pick in the draft, 16th overall. They snagged Dom Dwyer, a quick, tenacious Englishman who spent last season at the University of South Florida, and the previous two years in Texas playing at Tyler Junior College.
Will this pick live up to Peter Vermes’ growing reputation as a draft day wizard? Certainly no one is expecting Dom to replicate CJ Sapong‘s rookie 2011 season in which the James Madison product separated himself from everyone else in his class and ripped the Rookie of the Year award by a mile.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on Dom as the season nears and reporting his progress here at KCC, but I expect him to come in and contribute on the field, probably as a backup, pretty much immediately.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. What everyone really wants to know is how a talented Englishman ended up playing at a JuCo in Texas instead of coming up with a club in Europe. And what the newest Sporting KC first rounder thinks of Kansas City. And if he’s been out to the stadium yet.
And, oh yeah, whether Dom likes barbecue, right?…
Seriously, is it a requirement whenever a sports franchise in KC drafts someone, that the draftee MUST be asked about their barbecue consumption? I think it might be. And has an athlete ever said, "No, I don’t really care for barbecue"? Because in KC, that’s the equivalent of punching someone’s grandma in the face.
I had the chance to ask Dom about all these important issues. Did he pass the test? You be the judge.
How’d you end up in the states instead of Europe?
I was playing with a few clubs and I got to about 16 and it was the point where you either sign pro or try and come out to America and do something else. And I couldn’t really decide what to do, so I though let’s try America. And I went to a company called Soccer Icon in England and they send kids over to America. And I went to a trial in London with two of my best friends and they said you have to take the SAT test right away, but there wasn’t really time. We weren’t really sure but we said, let’s just go for it. So we just went for it and we ended up winning two national championships at Tyler Junior College. And then I got recruited at USF with one of my best friends, had a great season and then this came up.
If you had time to take the SAT where would you have chosen to go?
I was kind of interested in UCLA in a way, it always intrigued me. They didn’t know much about me, and after junior college I spoke with them a few times and they wanted me to visit but they wouldn’t offer me a full scholarship. So that was obviously — I had a full offer from other schools, and so I chose South Florida. And it was obviously a great decision.
Before the draft had you ever been in KC before?
No, but I really enjoyed it. A shame I wasn’t here longer, I didn’t get to see much of it yet but I guess I’ll get to see it all now.
Did you get to see LIVESTRONG Sporting Park?
I have, it was unbelievable. Everyone kept telling me how good it was and everything and I was like this is gonna be cool, this is gonna be nice. But when I saw it, it was not what I expected. It was way, way more. It was unbelievable. Just from the outside it looked cool, all the office buildings. And the pitch, too, I’m so happy it is grass. I didn’t realize it was grass, which I love playing on so much better than turf. The locker room, everything, the coach, I met for a short period of time, but I already feel welcome. And all the boys have been sending me a few messages on Twitter and making me feel welcome already. And I’m just really excited.
Did you celebrate a little bit after being selected?
I really didn’t because I flew straight back to Tampa. I got on the plane about – my parents left and I got on the plane about 6 after the draft, after the stadium tour. And then I just landed in Tampa about midnight and got picked up by a few friends. We just went home and trained with USF this morning. I didn’t really celebrate. It was a personal goal I’ve achieved now, but now I want to strive for even better things. So I wouldn’t say it’s a full celebration needed, not a big celebration, because I’m not close to where I want to be yet.
You signed with Generation adidas very late, the day before the combine. Was that a tough decision?
It really was. It was very last minute. At the start of the summer I was told there’s a good chance you’ll get [a Generation adidas contract]. And I was running, staying fit, getting very fit for the combine. And the offer never came and I was like, ok, maybe it’s not going to happen. So I was resting myself a little, didn’t want to get injured, resting my body for the college season. And as I was about to fly back to Tampa I got a phone call with an offer. And it was a big decision but once you kind of look it over and see how the Generation adidas is, it was an offer that was too good to turn down. I love Florida and everything but the opportunity came, and to be drafted by Kansas City, it was unbelievable and really unexpected. I didn’t have my best combine so I wasn’t quite pleased with that. But the way it worked out I was really, really pleased.
It’s worked out for the better because I’ve been drafted by a top, top team in the league, which is exciting. I didn’t want to drop to the 2nd round and I was happy that I went in the first round to KC. And I look back about it now and don’t think there’s any better scenario I could’ve picked. The home crowd — I already got to see them and as soon as you get drafted the fans are chanting your name. It makes you want to work right away and gives you that extra spring when you’re feeling tired, you want to do it for them.
How do you think you’ll fit in with Peter Vermes’ high pressure playing style?
I like the very, very high pressure. I feel like I can fit in any of the three positions up top. Of course, I’m willing to play anywhere the coach wants me.
How many times since you were drafted yesterday have you been asked about whether you like barbecue?
(Laughs.) Quite a few times. And I’m not really sure of my answer yet, but I’ve heard that Kansas City’s is pretty special so that’ll be something that I’ll be trying when I get there.
If you end up not liking it, I wouldn’t tell anyone. Kansas Citians are kind of insane about their barbecue.
No, I’ll try it. I’m sure I’ll like it. I do like– I’m very much into barbecue sauce and all that stuff on almost everything, so I’m sure I’ll like the barbecue food.
Good answer, Dom, you’re going to fit in just fine around here.