COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup is underway and a series of former NJCAA soccer stars are representing their respective countries on the pitch.
Former Tyler (TX) standout Dom Dwyer has emerged as a centerpiece for the United States Men's National Team (USMNT), scoring a goal in each of his first two international appearances. Dwyer, who tallied a goal in his first-career cap, a 2-1 friendly win over Ghana on July 1, scored the United States' lone goal in a 1-1 tie with Panama in the Gold Cup opener on July 8.
Dwyer, a member of Tyler's 2009 and 2010 national championship teams, helped the Apaches to a 40-0-1 record during his two seasons and was named the NJCAA Player of the Year in 2010. Dwyer recorded 52 career goals for Tyler before moving on to the University of South Florida. A 2014 inductee into the NJCAA Men's Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame, Dwyer is currently a member of Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer.
Tyler boasts another former star in the Gold Cup in Oniel Fisher, a member of the Jamaican National Team. Fisher, who has been a part of the international scene for Jamaica since 2010, started in the midfield of the team's first game, a 2-0 win over Curacao on July 9.
Following Dwyer's tenure at Tyler, Fisher arrived in 2011 and continued the dominant success for the Apaches, winning 38 games over the next two seasons, including the 2012 NJCAA national championship. Fisher concluded his collegiate career at the University of New Mexico and currently plays for Seattle Sounders FC in Major League Soccer.
While Dwyer and Fisher star on the pitch, a pair of former NJCAA soccer players are making an impact as coaches for the USMNT. Head coach Bruce Arena was a former NJCAA Second Team All-American goalie for Nassau (NY) in 1970. A two-sport athlete at Nassau, Arena was also a two-time NJCAA All-America lacrosse player. Arena was inducted into the National Junior College Hall of Fame in 2008.
Arena's coaching staff in the Gold Cup consists of another former NJCAA All-American in Dave Sarachan. An assistant coach for the USMNT, Sarachan was a NJCAA All-America selection in both 1973 and 1974 at Monroe Community College (NY).
The USMNT faces Group B opponent Martinique in the team's second game of the tournament at 9:00 p.m. eastern Wednesday night at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL. Jamaica will square off with Group C opponent Mexico at 10:30 p.m. eastern Thursday night at Sports Authority Field in Denver, CO.
The CONCACAF Gold Cup is a biennial tournament that is held to determine the continental champion of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.