Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Nigeria calls up Oklahoma product Dike
by Ridge Mahoney, February 13th, 2014 7:31PM

TAGS:  mexico, mls, toronto fc, world cup 2014


[WORLD CUP 2014 COUNTDOWN] Toronto FC coach Ryan Nelsen may have one more international player’s schedule to manage this season. Forward Bright Dike, acquired by TFC last September in exchange for Maximiliano Urruti, has been called up by Nigeria for its March 5 friendly against Mexico in Atlanta.

Though he would earn just his third cap by playing, Dike greatly strengthened his case for a spot on the World Cup squad by scoring in his last appearance, a 2-2 tie with Italy in November.

Dike’s first goal for his country against Italy marked an important milestone in his career: he scored just one goal in five MLS appearances last year after suffering a torn left ACL during preseason.

”I was fortunate enough to get my first official goal against Italy so that brings great confidence going into this season,” Dike, 27, told “[Keshi] said the last camp went well for me and hopefully I keep getting called up and eventually make the team for the World Cup.”

Dike grew up in Edmond, Okla., and attended at Notre Dame. A successful run with the Timbers in their pre-MLS days earned him a spot on their MLS team in 2011. He bounced back and forth between MLS and USL PRO in 2012.

The knee injury set him back considerably from his solid contributions in 2012: five goals in 12 MLS games for Portland. He faces a tough battle for playing time with a drastically overhauled TFC, which in addition to USA midfielder Michael Bradley has added England international striker Jermaine Defoe and Brazilian forward Gilberto.

Yet gone from last year’s team are forwards Justin Braun, Robbie Earnshaw and Danny Koevermans, so along with challenge comes opportunity. Not many MLS defenders can handle this 6-foot-1, 220-pounder by themselves. What Dike seeks this season is the guile and savvy to match his physical prowess.

“You know, Defoe is a world-class player and any time you play alongside a player like that, it’s a good person to pick his brain and learn from,” added Dike, who trained with Glasgow Celtic as well as Nigeria during the offseason. “I’m looking forward to that. All you can do is keep playing your best and make sure you’re getting better every day.”

Coach Stephen Keshi's squad included Norwich City's Joseph Yobo, who has not played for Nigeria since the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. He will also look at uncapped players Imoh Ezekiel, Ramon Azeez and Michael Uchebo.

Nigeria Roster:
GOALKEEPERS: Vincent Enyeama (Lille, France); Austin Ejide (Hapoel Be'er Sheva, Israel).
Defenders: Elderson Echiejile (Monaco, France); Efe Ambrose (Celtic, Scotland); Godfrey Oboabona (Rizespor, Turkey); Azubuike Egwuekwe (Warri Wolves); Kenneth Omeruo (Middlesbrough, England); Juwon Oshaniwa (Ashdod FC, Israel); Joseph Yobo (Norwich City, England); Kunle Odunlami (Sunshine Stars).
Midfielders: John Mikel Obi (Chelsea, England); Ramon Azeez (Almeria, Spain); Ogenyi Onazi (Lazio, Italy); Victor Moses (Liverpool, England); Shehu Abdullahi (Kano Pillars); Ejike Uzoenyi (Enugu Rangers).
Forwards: Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Shola Ameobi (Newcastle United, England); Emmanuel Emenike (Fenerbahce, Turkey); Obinna Nsofor (Chievo Verona, Italy); Bright Dike (Toronto FC), Imoh Ezekiel (Standard Liege, Belgium); Michael Uchebo (Cercle Brugge, Belgium).

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: West Brom director Richard Garlick on agent fees    
"If you walk into a room and there are five people sat around a table your ...
Lloyd and Ellis are nominees for FIFA awards    
Carli Lloyd, whose hat trick led the USA to a 5-2 win over Japan in the ...
Waldrum (still without a contract) returns to T&T women    
When Trinidad & Tobago faces the USA in the first of two friendlies Sunday in Honolulu, ...
What They're Saying: Orlando City owner Flavio Augusto da Silva    
"Five years ago, [MLS] paid to [be on television]. In 2010, it was paid $68 million, ...
New U-17 cycle begins on cautionary note    
In past years, the Nike International Friendlies, the annual year-end tournament for the age group that ...
Report: Miami Beckham United moves on to fourth option    
David Beckham's group seeking a home for an MLS club has its maps of Miami out ...
Close call can't erase Red Bulls' sense of accomplishment    
A year that started in controversy and uproar ended with another playoff setback, but during 2015 ...
What They're Saying: Dax McCarty    
"The first thing I want to do is to apologize to our fans. They've been fantastic ...
Video Pick: Dortmund pals perform synchronized warm-up    
Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Bundesliga's leading scorer, and Marco Reus' balletic warmup (dubbed a "Bromance ...
Video Pick: Barcelona delivers a Messi & Neymar montage    
Barcelona put together a one-minute video featuring the feats of its two FIFA Ballon d'Or 2015 ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives