Jun 17, 2014, 3:01 PM EDT
Back in February 2014, during a training session with his new MLS club, Toronto FC, former Notre Dame forward Bright Dike (pronounced “Dee-Kay) felt a pop in his leg. With that one step, his dream of playing in the 2014 World Cup was squelched.
Up until that point, Dike was already in the process of fighting himself back into shape after another knee surgery prior to his 2013 MLS season with the Portland Timbers. He was getting back into his previous form, using his large body to shield defenders (why Notre Dame men’s soccer coach Bobby Clark calls Dike, the “Big Man”) and his unique ability to get shots off in the tightest of spaces.
DIKE’S ATHLETICISM ON DISPLAY
November 18, 2013
As the World Cup neared, Dike was called up to the Nigerian National Team for a pair of matches. In the November 18th match against Italy, Dike opened up his national team account with this beauty.
DIKE’S FIRST NATIONAL TEAM GOAL
February 10, 2014
Dike was called up to the Nigerian National Team for their March 5th friendly. After being acquired by Toronto FC from the Portland Timbers at the end of 2013, Dike began preseason training with Toronto in early 2014. After a resurgence at the end of last season, Dike was looking for a breakout year alongside U.S. National Team member Michael Bradley and former Notre Dame alum Justin Morrow in the “Starting XI” for Toronto.
February 13, 2014
In an article on NBCSports.com, there is one of the first mentions by the American press as to whether Dike could possibly make the 2014 World Cup squad for Nigeria.
Could a player whose played for three American clubs in four years — and didn’t make his Nigerian senior team bow until he was 25 — be in Stephen Keshi’s plans for the Super Eagles time on the world’s biggest stage?
February 17, 2014
Just when everything seemed to be going well for Dike, he was injured in a Toronto FC training session. After a variety of scans on his leg, it was determined that he would have to undergo surgery.
Worst day of my life
— Bright Dike (@bbright19) February 17, 2014
February 19, 2014
Surgery went well I'm blessed to receive so many kind words. I thank God for the people around me. Now I'm passing out for at least 10 hours
— Bright Dike (@bbright19) February 20, 2014
Dike was on track to possibly capture one of the coveted 23 spots on Nigeria’s National team for the 2014 World Cup, before his injury. As he watches his former Nigerian teammates play internationally and former college running mate, Matt Besler, start for the United States, Dike is hard at work training to get back to the superior striker he once was and expects to be again.
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