Ca$hing in: Former Norwich City and King’s Lynn talent Dom Dwyer striking it rich in MLS
- Credit: Archant
Dom Dwyer's rise to prominence across the Atlantic has left him laughing all the way to the bank, as sports reporter GAVIN CANEY explains.
Striker Dom Dwyer is reaping the massive financial rewards of his rise to soccer stardom in America.
The King's Lynn-raised frontman now earns over seven times a year more than he did when he signed for Sporting Kansas City as an unknown rookie in 2012. The huge hike in wages will see the 25-year-old pocket at least $518,750 (£340,000) this season compared to the $72,500 (£47,786) he was taking home just three years ago.
While the former Norwich City academy talent still earns a fraction of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard's huge
salaries because of Major League Soccer (MLS) rules, it goes to show again what a big hit Dwyer continues to be across the pond after being rejected by the professional game in England.
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The 25-year-old failed to make the grade during an injury-hit spell with the Canaries as a youngster and chased the American dream following stints with non-league King's Lynn and Staines. The decision to take up a scholarship with Texas' Tyler Junior College in 2009 set the wheels in motion for an adventure which paid off, eventually, as top-flight KC came calling in the MLS Draft.
A record-breaking loan with third tier Orlando City soon opened the door to a wealth of opportunities on and off the pitch with Sporting. A single season club record return of 22 goals in 2014 saw Lynn's former Springwood High School pupil agree a new deal in December. And the details of that contract, recently released by the Major League Soccer Players' Union, has revealed how Dwyer's name has rocketed up the pay scale.
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The Englishman is now his club's best paid asset outside of their designated player (DP) quota. His wage is already at the top of the capped limit for non-DP players – three of which are allowed at each side. The rule allows big names like Kaka, Gerrard, Lampard and Robbie Keane to follow in David Beckham's footsteps and earn huge incomes which only count to around 12pc – regardless of their combined totals – of a club's estimated near $3,490,00 (£2.30million) yearly salary cap.
While the goal-getter may never earn their megabucks, his windfall is a sure sign of his growing reputation as one of the country's most deadly marksmen. Only worldwide names from abroad tend to land the most lucrative deals with many improving players being moved on to free up funds to be used elsewhere in a club's squad. But if Dwyer can improve on his tally of hitting the net 11 times so far this term, and go on to land a place in the US set-up if he takes up citizenship in 2017, he could smash through his current financial ceiling by becoming a KC DP, like Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza – who all earn at least £100,000-a-year more than one of Lynn's finest success stories.
As Dwyer's stock continues to rise, it's no wonder fellow British players are feeling green with envy at his remarkable rags to riches story. And why so many are jetting off to try and ensure they can cash in on soccer's growth in the US.
Soccer power couple Leroux and Dwyer are a match made in media heaven
'Brand Beckham' has earned David and his wife Victoria untold riches across the planet.
Becks' five-year contract with LA Galaxy was worth $250m (£128m) to start with. While Dwyer is unlikely to make such fortunes during his career, his fame – and endorsement potential – appears to have grown as the result of being one half of another success partnership.
The one-time Norwich City Academy player married US Women's team forward, and 2015 World Cup winner, Sydney Leroux, in January and the pair are well on their way to becoming their sport's power couple in America.
Aaron Nielsen, a Canadian-based scout, analytical expert and journalist on the MLS who writes for Prospect XI, said: 'Dom's public and social media image is helped with his popularity while his marriage with Leroux helps in terms of sponsorship opportunities. But his football contract is based on his success on the pitch and he is a favourite with the KC fans.
'There are examples in the past where players scored as many goals as Dom but didn't get a new contract and left the MLS because of it.
'Those who don't follow the MLS still don't know who Dom is, so he's not at the same level as Steven Gerrard or Kaka.
'In America the World Cup is still the biggest soccer event so Dom would have to star in that to get the same notoriety.'