Timbers sign Obatola, Dike for 2010 campaign

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers have signed forwards Gabriel “O.J.” Obatola and Bright Dike (DEE-kay) for the 2010 season, it was announced today pending U.S. Soccer Federation approval. Both players have been on trial with the club during preseason.

Obatola, 22, joins the Timbers from Singapore’s S-League, where he was one of the league’s leading scorers with Gombak United. He recorded 63 total goals over four seasons with the Bulls (2007-10) and led the team in scoring three straight seasons from 2007-09.

He had a breakout season in 2008, leading Gombak United to the Singapore League Cup title, scoring a tournament-high six goals. In 2009, Obatola posted a career-best 24 goals and helped Gombak United reach the semifinals. For his efforts, he received the S-League’s 2009 Young Player of the Year and People’s Choice awards.

Dike, 23, enters his rookie season in 2010, recently completing his collegiate career at the University of Notre Dame.

The Edmonds, Okla., native played in 86 career matches during his time with the Fighting Irish, registering 27 goals and 12 assists. He was a two-time All-Big East first-team selection and was twice named to the All-Great Lakes Region first team. Dike led the conference in scoring with 11 goals as a senior in 2009, and was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year. He helped Notre Dame reach the NCAA tournament twice during his collegiate career.

Dike was invited to attend the Major League Soccer Combine in January and was selected by the Columbus Crew with the 12th-overall pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.

Portland opens the 2010 USSF Division-2 Pro League season Saturday, April 17, at PGE Park; kickoff against the Rochester Rhinos is set for 7 p.m. Tickets, starting at $12, are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at (800) 745-300 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.