Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Nigeria calls up Oklahoma product Dike
by Ridge Mahoney, February 13th, 2014 7:31PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

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

MOST COMMENTED

[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 MLSSoccer.com. “[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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
U.S. U-17s boys romp again, beat Turkey, 5-1     
After opening the Nike International Friendlies with a 7-1 win over Portugal, the U.S. U-17 boys ...
U-20 WWC: USA falls to Japan in third-place game     
Japan outshot the USA 29-3 while beating the Americans 1-0 in the third-place game at the ...
U.S. Abroad: Alvarado headed to Santos for Torneo Clausura    
Ventura Alvarado is back in the starting lineup at Mexican giant Club America, which tied Necaxa, ...
U.S. Abroad: Gooch faces three-month layoff    
Sunderland's Lynden Gooch, who made his English Premier League debut in August and U.S. national team ...
What They're Saying: Roberto Assis    
"It is a very difficult time. Later on, if there is a contact, we can talk. ...
Women's College Cup: Upstarts battle former champs    
The Division I women's season is down to its final weekend. Georgetown and West Virginia are ...
MLS Cup Countdown: Stars escape major injuries    
Both MLS Cup finalists had key players limp off in the second legs of the conference ...
MLS Preseason: Tournaments set at three sites    
The 2016 MLS season doesn't wrap up for another week, but teams are already finalizing plans ...
What They're Saying: Gareth Southgate    
"The days are gone from when I was younger where we did have beers after a ...
MLS Moves: Minnesota signs first two players    
MLS expansion team Minnesota United signed a pair of defenders -- Justin Davis and Kevin Venegas ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives