Edmond North alum Daryl Dike set to make USMNT debut in home stadium
Just a few short years ago, striker Daryl Dike was terrorizing opposing defenses for Edmond North high school.
On Sunday, the 20-year-old Edmond North alum could make his U.S. men's national team debut, playing alongside and against some of the sport's best players.
He should be comfortable enough, as the USMNT friendly against Trinidad & Tobago will take place in Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida — the very stadium where Dike scored five goals as a rookie in the MLS.
“Obviously, you know, it’s an honor to be here," Dike said in the team's media availability Thursday. "And of course, to be able to have the potential to get the first cap here in Orlando, it’s great. It means a lot to know we’ll have lots of fans out there you know; the Orlando City fans out there. So, it’ll be good to represent the guys."
After being selected fifth overall out of Virginia in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, the Orlando City star totaled eight goals in his first 17 games, a strong rookie showing that helped him get called up to the national team.
"I think camp's gone really well," Dike said. "Obviously it's great to be around all the guys, phenomenal players, get to meet all the good staff, the coaching staff and everyone. It's great, it's a good learning experience."
Orlando City is the most-represented MLS team with four national team players. Andres Perea, Benji Michel and Chris Mueller joined Dike in camp.
Dike said that being around familiar faces has helped him tremendously.
“I think it’s great because we all know what each other are capable of,” Dike said. “We know when we go into training that you’ve seen each other play every single day, so we know that we hold each other to a higher expectation.”
One of the youngest players called up to the team, Dike has been especially motivated by legendary striker Jozy Altidore, who has accounted for 115 goals at stops in the MLS, Premier League, La Liga, Super Lig and the Dutch Eredivisie.
There are few players more knowledgeable in the sport than Altidore. With 15 seasons under his belt, Dike couldn’t have asked for a better mentor and motivator. Even more than experience, Dike and Altidore share an eerily similar frame and playstyle.
“It’s truly a blessing being able to work with someone like him,” Dike said of Altidore. “He always has tips, he always takes time out of his training session or out of his day to go and tell me ‘hey, I think you can try this.’ He can critique me sometimes — I think it’s good to have someone watching over you as you’re growing as a player.”
Dike was set to make his international debut in December but was set back due to injuries. So far, under head coach Gregg Berhalter, 34 U.S. players have made their international debuts in 22 matches.
On Sunday, the young striker that made his name in Oklahoma will look to add his name to that list.