Twelve men sat around a table. They looked up at their proud coach who was smiling from ear to ear, and they scribbled their John Hancock’s as cameras flashed in every direction.
The man in the middle was TJC soccer player Dominic James Dwyer, better known as Dom. The London, England native signed with the University of South Florida after juggling his many options.
“After the first day, I had fallen in love with the place. The facilities were amazing; the coaches were good coaches and good people. I got along with my teammates and I felt comfortable around them,” said Dwyer.
He had offers from a handful of schools, but narrowed it down to five- South Carolina, South Florida, Indiana, St. Johns and Santa Barbara. He even got a call from the University of Akron. They are the number one team in the country and the national champions. The reason his talent attracted so much attention was because of his successful two seasons in America.
“I won [the] national player of the year award, which is a huge achievement for me personally. But I think my biggest achievement and most special is winning the national championship and it being here at TJC in front of a home crowd,” said Dwyer.
He thanked his team too, saying he never could have won a personal award without the team winning and getting recognition.
“I like individual achievement but to me, the team is more important. So it’s nice to share an achievement with them because if it wasn’t for them, I would have never won the national player of the year award,” said Dwyer.
Dwyer’s coach, Steve Clements, also received coach of the year. Dwyer said that neither his coach nor parents pressured him on deciding where to go to college next.
“My parents and my coach did not really give me their opinions on where they would prefer me to go because they wanted the decision to be totally mine,” said Dwyer. “They were really good about that and my parents along with my coach were very pleased with the final decision I made.”
Clements said that he tries to stay neutral when his players are deciding on a school.
“If they have a hard time at the next school, they might blame it on me,” said Clements. “They are the ones that have to live there the next two years. Most of the time it comes down to scholarships, and which school is going to give more scholarship dollars.”
Dwyer seemed confident in his college choice with much evidence to support it.
“I just look forward to playing Division I soccer. I want to play at a high level and keep improving and I felt South Florida has the right coaches and facilities for me to do that. The stadium is brand new and amazing, so I really look forward to playing in that too,” said Dwyer.
Joseph Setchell, Dwyer’s teammate, roommate, and friend for almost 10 years, has already seen him evolve as a player since arriving at TJC in 2009.
“He is a better player now. He is stronger because here we practice everyday instead of back home where we only practiced twice a week,” said Setchell
Clements said that only one person in TJC history has scored more goals than Dwyer and that player now plays professionally.
“Dominic knows how to score goals. Most teams look for that,” said head coach Clements. “His class will get a lot of exposure from the schools they signed with. They will definitely have opportunities.”
After college, Dwyer hopes to continue his love of soccer by playing it professionally.
“I want to be a professional soccer player. I am trying to be smart and go to school to have a degree to fall back on if things don’t work out with soccer or if I get an injury or even just if I want to do something after I finish playing soccer,” said D w y e r . ” M y m a j o r is a ISS d e g r e e which is half psychology and half communications.”
His family and teammates have always been important to him, but when it comes to soccer there is one person in particular that he looks up to.
“My role model is Thierry Henry who currently plays in the U.S. for the New York Red Bulls,” said Dwyer. “He used to play in England for a team called Arsenal and then he moved to Spain and played for Barcelona before he moved to the U.S. I love the way he plays, his attitude and his quality on the ball. He is the reason I wear [the] number 14.”