Speaks softly, but carries a big kick
Valour FC’s understated Dyer consistently among CPL’s top scorers
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In an era of sport where the leading scorer of a team is often one of the most vocal in the bunch, Moses Dyer is an anomaly.
The 25 year old doesn’t say much in the Valour FC locker room, and he likes it that way. He prefers to let his actions do the talking.
“I don’t try to lead with my mouth. I just work hard on the field. That’s infectious,” he said.
In the way of production, Dyer has been boisterous to begin the 2022 CPL season.
The third-year midfielder has four goals — tied-fifth most — and two assists in 11 appearances (948 minutes) this year.
While Valour has battled to find its footing through the first three months of the season, Dyer has arguably been the team’s most electrifying player, even if he doesn’t feel that way.
“Personally, I don’t feel like I’ve had the start that I’ve wanted in terms of output,” he said. “But I also feel like I’m bringing other things to the table in terms of leadership.”
A confounding response from a top-five scorer, Dyer was forthright about why he isn’t satisfied with his start.
“Because I’m not first right now.”
Even then, it’s fair to assume the New Zealand native is a little proud of his accomplishments since arriving in Winnipeg. Coming off a breakout 2021 campaign, in which he scored nine goals — sixth-most in the CPL and a single-season club record — Dyer’s encore has drawn similar production, cementing him as one of the premier threats in the Canadian league.
“I knew going into the offseason that this season was going to be much harder because the league knows me now. So in the offseason I just worked very hard to get my fitness levels up,” he said.
Versatility and adaptability have been key for Dyer since joining Valour in 2020.
After playing attacking midfield and left-wing during his stint with Florø SK in Norway, Dyer floated between a few positions and briefly settled at midfield under former coach Rob Gale. When Philip Dos-Santos stepped in as bench boss in 2021, he moved Dyer back to an attacking role — this time as a striker.
Dyer had six goals in the club’s last nine matches of the season.
“I’ve always been an attacking player. So last year when Rob told me at the start of the season that I was going to play in the midfield, obviously as a player you’ll play anywhere but at the same time you kind of want to play where you’re comfortable and where you think you’ll play best.”
“I was a little bit confused so it was nice going back to attack.”
A stable role, another year of experience and the self-realization that he has become a crucial piece to Valour’s success has pushed Dyer to bear more responsibility on and off the pitch.
To see his impact off the pitch, look no further than teammate Anthony “Tony” Camille Mikhael. After being drafted by Valour last year, Dyer was the first person Camille Mikhael met. The pair has forged an unbreakable bond since that time.
“Right off the bat, we made a connection and he was always someone that was supportive of me and gave me a lot of good advice in my first professional year. (He’s) kind of been a big brother to me.”
“He’s just a good guy to have in the locker room because he’s a leader. He’s maybe not the most vocal at times, but through his actions and his work, when we see him putting in work and doing his thing, it motivates everyone else to match that energy and intensity and keep the level high.”
Camille Mikhael remembers an on-field scuffle between him and an opposing York United FC player in a match last July, in which the young footballer was fending for himself. That is until Dyer sprinted across the pitch to defend his teammate.
“It just showed the brotherhood and the love that he has for me and for protecting us as a group. That was something that always stuck with me, and it showed me a lot about him as a person.”
To coach Dos Santos, Dyer’s consistency has come with a more defined role.
“I think that knowing what exactly his role was on the team coming into the season was important for him,” he said, adding “he knew he was going to be an attacking piece for us, and I think that helps and also (gives him) the feeling that he has the trust of the coaching staff.”
“I think that shapes and builds confidence in the player. Of course, we know what confidence can (do for) a player and I think he came in and felt that right off the bat.”
Dyer is currently just one of two players from New Zealand in the CPL. The other, Myer Bevan, grew up with Dyer in Auckland and is one of his best friends.
When asked about growing the game of football back home, Dyer said he makes time for young footballers when he goes home in the winter, but keeps to himself during the season and doesn’t worry about being an “influencer.”
“Honestly, the focus is the season. I don’t need distractions because we’re trying to get into that playoff spot and make a statement.”
Valour FC will look for its third-straight win on Sunday against HFX Wanderers FC.