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

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
Video Pick: Chinese keeper's water break proves very costly    
Everything was going just fine for Chongqing Lifen, a club battling to avoid the relegation zone ...
NASL suspends its board chairman     
Aaron Davidson, one of the marketing executives charged in the U.S. Department of Justice's probe into ...
Morris scores again, but U.S. U-23s fall to France    
The U.S. U-23 national team gave up three early goals in a 3-1 loss to host ...
What They're Saying: FIFA spokesperson Walter De Gregorio    
"This for FIFA is good. It is not good in terms of image or reputation, but ...
Twenty for Canada 2015: New Zealand's Ali Riley    
Ali Riley is about as American as you can get. Born in Los Angeles. Product of ...
FIFA bombshell: seven arrested in Zurich, 14 indicted    
Zurich's Baur au Lac, the preferred hotel of FIFA executives, was raided in the early morning ...
What They're Saying: FIFA spokesperson Walter De Gregorio    
"Well, he is not dancing in his office. He is very calm, he is fully cooperative ...
ICYMI MLS: Gooch sighting; Drogba back on the radar    
Oguchi Onyewu, who is out of contract after being released by English club Charlton, trained with ...
MLS: This week ...    
The busiest midweek of the season to date -- three games -- kicks off Week 13 ...
Road to Vancouver: Brazil's Formiga picked for sixth time    
Formiga was picked to play in her sixth Women's World Cup for Brazil as she was ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives