MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. - Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer is now counting the days until he becomes a United States citizen.
"February 14 marks the date of my five years of holding a green card, so then I'll be eligible for citizenship," the English-born striker told ESPN FC. "That paperwork is sitting there, ready to filed on the 14th, and we'll see where it goes from there."
The 26-year-old has been one of the top forwards in MLS since 2014, when he scored 22 goals in 33 appearances. In five seasons with SKC, he has found the net 52 times in 113 games.
Dwyer is hoping those numbers are enough to eventually earn him a U.S. national team call-up when he acquires citizenship. Dwyer's wife is Canadian-born U.S. women's national team striker Sydney Leroux.
"I think any footballer, you want to play on the international stage. That's the biggest there is. To play for your country would be amazing," said Dwyer, who has lived in the U.S. since 2009, when he enrolled in Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas. He then spent one season playing for the University of South Florida. Sporting drafted him 16th overall in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft.
"I've lived here for about nine years now in the U.S.," Dwyer said. "I wasn't born here but this is, if not my second home, my home. This country has given me a lot. If I have the opportunity to give something back, I would jump at it."
Dwyer might have been invited to this month's national team camp even though he's not yet a citizen. New U.S. coach Bruce Arena brought in Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei (Switzerland) and Vancouver Whitecaps forward Kekuta Manneh (Gambia) even though neither is eligible to suit up in an official game yet. But Dwyer is coming off ankle surgery and was not available.
"It's probably a good thing," he said. "You don't really want your first impression to be coming back from injury."
Dwyer had spoken, briefly, to former men's national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann about representing his adopted homeland. He has not yet had the opportunity to speak to Arena, but the U.S. federation is helping him with his FIFA paperwork.
"In passing, he's a guy I respect. He'd always shake my hand after the games against LA.," Dwyer said of the former LA Galaxy coach. "I've heard only good things [about] him, especially from a lot of other players."
If he eventually gets the opportunity to join Arena's team, Dwyer is hoping to link up with club teammate Benny Feilhaber, who is back with the U.S. squad for the first time in three years.
"Benny's been a big, big part of my career," he said. "If you look at the goals I've scored, most of them have been off a pass from him. So with this whole talk of me coming to the national team at some point, to play in there with Benny would be...I do that every single day. Me and him have a great bond, a great connection, and it was about time he got called into camp. I think he's long overdue."