Prolific goal scorer scored 19 goals in 55 appearances for Canada
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
“It’s a humbling experience as well because you have to think about all the people who supported you along the way. Like parents, teammates, coaches, and managers.-Dale Mitchell
One of Canada’s top soccer strikers is being honoured in his home province. Dale Mitchell will be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame as part of the 2021 list of inductees. The special induction ceremony will be held in June 2022.
Mitchell was a member of the Canadian men’s national team from 1980 till 1993. He made 55 appearances for his country, scoring an impressive 19 goals. It was a record that stood for 2o years before Dwayne De Rosario broke it in 2012—finishing his international career for Canada with 22 goals. Mitchell also represented Canada at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles with the Canadians finishing fifth.
Mitchell says being inducted into the BCSHOF is very humbling. “There are so many great athletes and builders who contribute to sport in our province, so being recognized among them is a great feeling,” he said in an email interview with the Other Press. “It’s a humbling experience as well because you have to think about all the people who supported you along the way. Like parents, teammates, coaches and managers. The Hall of Fame is something I never thought about […] but when it happens it feels good.”
His love and passion for soccer began early as Mitchell started playing the game at age five. He started his soccer career with the Vancouver Whitecaps (NASL) from 1977 till 1978. He then played three seasons for the Portland Timbers (1979 till 1982), before playing one season for the Montreal Manic in 1983—a year before the NASL folded. Mitchell later played for the Vancouver 86ers in the Canadian Soccer League (1987 to 1992). He scored 37 goals in his four seasons with the 86ers, which included one year with the Toronto Blizzard in 1991. From 1992 till 1994, he continued playing for the 86ers when the team moved to the American Professional Soccer League (APSL). Mitchell also played in the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) from 1983 till 1993. According to the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame website, he scored 416 goals (regular season and playoffs).
Notably, Mitchell was a key player in Canada qualifying for the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. During the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in 1985, he scored four goals in three international matches. Unfortunately, Mitchell missed the final round of qualifying due to a knee injury. In Mexico, he did not play in Canada’s opening two matches against France and Hungary (Canada lost both games by scores of one to zero and two to zero). But Mitchell did play in Canada’s third match against the Soviet Union with Canada losing by a score of two to zero. Canada was then eliminated from the World Cup after three losses and failing to score a goal.
After retiring as a player, Mitchell went into coaching. From 2007 till 2009, he was head coach of Canada’s men’s national team. He also coached Canada’s U20 National Team (2001-2007), as well as the Vancouver Whitecaps (1999-2001). In 2002, Mitchell was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame. In 2012, Mitchell was part of the Canadian Soccer Association’s Centennial Celebration—selected to the Canadian All-Time XI men’s team. Two years later, he was inducted into the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame. In 2019, he was inducted into the Soccer Hall of Fame of BC. Since 2010, Mitchell has been the Technical Director for the Coquitlam Metro Ford Soccer Club (BC Soccer Premier League).
Other BCSHOF inductions
Dale Mitchell is among five athletes being inducted into the BCSHOF: Jason Delesalle (Para-Athletics), Gerry Gilmore (Field Hockey/Basketball/Softball), Gino Odjick (Ice Hockey) and Eli Pasquale (Basketball). In the builders and coaches category are Judy Broom (Field Hockey), David Cox (Sport Psychology) and Kelly Mann (Multi-Sport). Other honours include the 1961-62 Vancouver Firefighters Men’s Soccer (team category), Gene Kiniski (pioneer category) and Karin Larsen (media category). Ron Jones is the recipient of the WAC Bennett Award.
The BCSHOF also announced the six winners of the annual Eric Whitehead Inspired Service Awards. The award goes to long-standing contributors to the BC sports community. As well, the candidates have made achievements during periods of adversity; or were prominent in their innovation, service and leadership to the BC sport system. The winners are Steve Ewen (The Province writer), Brian Griffin (BC Place), Barry Macdonald (formerly of CBC-TV, Sports Page, TEAM 1040 and TSN 1040), Lara Mussell-Savage (Director of Sport for ISPARC and BCSHOF Trustee), Terry Vandale (long-standing sports leader in softball and curling) and Robert H. Wright (former Chair of Sport BC and Tennis Canada).