A Smithers soccer coach and former pro player has been inducted into the BC Soccer Hall of Fame.
Dan Imhof said he was surprised by the acknowledgment.
“It’s not something that was on my mind, it was a nice welcome surprise and definitely honoured to be chosen for that. Especially coming from the North,” he said.
Imhof added that the biggest part of being recognized is the inspiration to other young soccer players in the Bulkley Valley.
“I think for me its more about that kids can see that you can grow up in Smithers and still achieve things. They don’t always have to move south. The kids I coach know what I’ve done in my soccer career, but sometimes might have a tough time relating to it because it was so far away in Europe. But this is something close to home that they can relate to and see that you can achieve your dreams. So hopefully something like this can give them some added motivation to dream big,” he said.
Imhof was born in 1977 in Switzerland and his parents moved to Canada when he was four.
He was raised in Smithers and played as a youth in the Bulkley Valley before playing for the University of Victoria Vikes from 1996 to 1998.
In 1998, he returned to Switzerland to pursue a pro soccer career, which he followed for 15 years, playing 380 games in all kinds of competitions in Switzerland and Germany as a midfielder.
From 1998 to 1999, Imhof played with his hometown FC Wil, then spent six years at F.C. St. Gallen, winning the Swiss Super League in 2000. Imhof then spent four and a half seasons with VfL Bochum in the German Bundesliga, before returning to St. Gallen for his final two and a half playing seasons, 2010-2012.
Daniel Imhof’s representative career began with the 1997 BC team at the Canada Games, winning a silver medal. In 1999 he played for Canada’s U-23 Pan-Am Games team, following which he made 36 appearances for Canada’s men’s national team from 2000 to 2010.
After his pro retirement in 2012, Daniel returned to live in Smithers with his wife and their three children. He operates soccer camps and a soccer academy in his hometown, coaches community teams of all ages and calibres, outdoor and indoor, and serves as the technical lead for Bulkley Valley Soccer.
Together with his wife, he also owns Dan’s Sports, a sporting goods store in Smithers.
For his contribution to his community in the Bulkley Valley, Daniel Imhof received the BC Coach of the Year - Youth Award in 2020.