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Men’s Soccer: Dike back for fifth year

Laura Myers | Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bright Dike just couldn’t get enough of Notre Dame soccer. And the Irish will take all they can get of him as well.

“Hopefully we’ll get a lot out of him this year,” Irish coach Bobby Clark said. “He improves every season he’s been here and hopefully he continues to do that.”

Dike (pronounced DEE-KAY) was unable to play in 2007, his junior year, for personal reasons. Because of that absence, he remained eligible and was able to come back as a fifth-year senior for this season.

“I was always going to come back,” Dike said. “That feeling of not getting a championship yet, you’ve got to come back. I enjoy being a part of this team.”

Dike made a statement when he returned to the team in 2008, leading the team and the Big East in goals (12) and in total points (29). He was named first-team all-Big East as well as first team all-Great Lakes Region.

“I think it’s actually better because he’s had that extra year of maturity,” Clark said. “He’s coming back with that extra year and that always helps a player.”

In his first game of 2009, a 5-0 Notre Dame win over Michigan, Dike had his first hat trick, scoring three consecutive goals in the second half.

“He’s got confidence as a person, and as a player,” Clark said. “I think when he came in he was just a big strong athlete and now he’s a student of the game. Before, he used his natural abilities by chance. I think now he’s really starting to develop a very good game.”

Dike is a good student off the field as well – he finished his degree in Information Technology last spring and is now a graduate student taking classes in entrepreneurship.

Of course, Dike said he hopes his future lies in soccer.

“It is a long way from now, but my goal is to play soccer after [this season] if I can,” he said. “Whether that be here or overseas, it doesn’t matter. I know that I want to play soccer. It’s always been my goal, even when I was in high school. I think this is one of the best schools that can help all the players do that. We have one of the best coaching staffs.”

But in the immediate future, Dike is focused on the ambitions of the whole team.

“This season is one of our best opportunities,” he said. “I think we’ve got a really strong team, and we can make a run for the championship – that’s the goal.”

Though Clark was more conservative in his predictions, he agreed that Dike will play a big part for the Irish in 2009.

“We’re not thinking about how far we go yet,” he said. “We’re just at the stage of getting set, just taking one day at a time. Hopefully the big man ends up with a few goals and once the regular season ends, we’ll see where that’s taken us.”