Timbers forward Dike called up by Nigerian national team

Bright Dike

Photo Credit: 
Craig Mitchelldyer

It is one of the most remarkable turnaround stories of any player in MLS this year.

Just a few months ago, Portland Timbers forward Bright Dike was a forgotten man, shipped off to the lower divisions after failing to break through in MLS. Now it's on to the international stage for the 25-year-old, who was called up by the Nigerian national team for a Wednesday friendly against Venezuela in Miami (8 pm ET).

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Dike was born in Oklahoma City, Okla., but his parents are natives of Nigeria, making him eligible to play for the Super Eagles. The summons is the first on the international level in Dike's career.

A No. 12 overall draft pick for the Columbus Crew in the 2010 SuperDraft, Dike struggled to break into the Timbers' starting XI in 2012 and he was loaned to the LA Blues of the USL Pro division, registering six goals and two assists during the spell.

When he returned to Portland in July, he became a fixture in the Timbers lineup at center forward under interim manager Gavin Wilkinson, starting nine of the final 11 matches of the 2012 regular season and contributing five goals.

Dike will hope to make a similar strong impression with Nigeria, who will be one of 16 countries to participate in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa in January.