Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
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
What They're Saying: Louis van Gaal    
"[I] have transformed the Dutch school from 4-3-3 to 3-5-2 and, depending on the opponent, it ...
A costly miss from two yards out    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Robert Herrera of Uruguayan club Defensor Sporting managed to hit the ...
Seattle clinches regular-season title    
[NWSL: Week 16] The Seattle Reign FC clinched the 2014 NWSL regular-season title with four games ...
D.C. United and New England go for three    
[MLS: Wednesday] D.C. United confirmed its credentials and New England broke an eight-game losing streak in ...
Liverpool rallies to win clash of EPL's top teams    
[INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES] Stevan Jovetic twice scored to put Manchester City ahead, but Liverpool got goals from ...
2014 PDL All-League Team    
[AWARDS] The Michigan Bucks and FC Tucson led all teams with two selections apiece on the ...
Grondona dies after 35 years as Argentine boss    
[OBITUARY] Julio Grondona, FIFA senior vice president, died on Wednesday after being admitted to a Buenos ...
Philly acquisition of Mbolhi 'no-brainer'    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] The Philadelphia Union already has Zac MacMath, who at the age of 22 is ...
Montreal dismisses De Santis as sporting director    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Halfway through what is shaping up to be one of the worst seasons in ...
Rubin likes FC Utrecht's ambitions    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Rubio Rubin had to wait until he turned 18 in March to be eligible ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives