Oakland Roots Sign World Cup Veteran Víctor Bernárdez
Oakland, Calif. (June 14, 2019) – Oakland Roots have signed Honduran World Cup veteran Víctor Bernárdez as a player-coach. He will suit up as a center back on the field, and will additionally serve as an assistant coach under Roots head coach Paul Bravo, helping to lead a locker room being built from the ground up over the course of this inaugural 2019 Founders Cup campaign.
No stranger to Bay Area soccer, Bernárdez played in 162 games for the Earthquakes, and played a pivotal role on their back line during their run to the 2012 Supporters’ Shield. He also earned 72 caps for the Honduran national team, including appearances in both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
“It’s not too often that a start up club gets to acquire both a person and a player with the pedigree that Victor brings with him,” said Club President Benno Nagel. “His story of survival and overcoming adversity in his life is something that easily trumps any of the achievements he’s made on the field. With that said, two World Cups and over 150 games at the MLS level as well as his time in Europe is pretty impressive. We’re excited to have him on board and to welcome him into Oakland, both within the Honduran community living here and just the Oakland community in general.”
"Victor is a skilled center back who brings a high level of tenacity, competitiveness, and leadership to the back line,” said Roots Head Coach Paul Bravo. “Having seen him play in MLS during my time with the Rapids, it's exciting to add a player of his quality. I look forward to working with Victor both as a player and as a coach for Oakland Roots."
“We are extremely happy to welcome Victor Bernárdez to the Oakland Roots family,” said Roots Technical Consultant Eric Yamamoto. “Our fans and team will soon find that he is a perfect fit for our club and community. Victor brings extensive National Team, MLS, and World Cup experience along with an amazing presence on and off the field. We feel that Victor will not only help on the field, as a coach and a player, but the community will embrace him as a person and a great personality. We are so lucky that Victor is excited to help build the momentum here in Oakland and be part of the club and community.”
“I am very happy to continue my career as a player and coach with Oakland Roots,” Bernárdez said. “This community has meant so much to me over the years, and I feel blessed to have this opportunity. I can’t wait to represent this club.”
Muma, as he is nicknamed, scored six goals in six seasons with the Earthquakes. His name can be found in many all-time stat lists for San Jose, including fourth in starts (161), sixth in minutes played (14,123) and seventh in appearances (162).
Prior to his arrival in the Bay Area, Bernárdez played internationally for clubs in Belgium, Mexico, and his native Honduras. His first professional contract was with CDS Vida in Honduras, the same team that his grandfather once coached, and went on to play for Motagua in Honduras as well as Anderlecht in Belgium prior to joining the Earthquakes.
Among the foundational moments from Bernárdez’s childhood in Honduras was Hurricane Mitch. He vividly recalls running from his home with his family as water filled the first floor of their dwelling. Bernárdez and his family safely waited out the hurricane in a remote location, but the lasting impact on his native land - over 7,000 killed and massive destruction - remains with him as a point of motivation to this day.
Soccer and family have been common threads throughout his life. The Bay Area resident has been coaching locally since he retired from professional soccer following his 2017 season with the San Jose Earthquakes. Bernárdez will continue to give back to Oakland’s soccer community while playing for Roots by also serving as a coach for Liverpool International Academy East Bay.
About Oakland Roots
More than just a club, more than just a game. Oakland Roots Sports Club seeks to harness the magic of Oakland and the beautiful game of soccer as a force for social good. Whether on the pitch, in the stands or within the community, Oakland Roots will represent our one-of-a-kind city with passion, pride, and commitment to all things Oakland. Player by player. Supporter by supporter. Resident by resident. One day at a time. One game at a time. This is about Oakland first, always.