Day thirteen of our San Jose Earthquakes advent calendar is the first to feature a player: Victor Bernardez. To most Earthquakes fans he is known as “Muma” to MLS forwards he was a 6’2” 212-pound Honduran wall.
“Muma” Bernardez earned his nickname while a kid growing up in Honduras. At that time he would shadow Honduran national team player Rene “Pupa” Martinez so much that other national players started to refer to him as “Muma,” in contrast to his heroes “Pupa.” Bernardez arrived in San Jose in 2012 from Mexican side Indios via Belgian side Anderlecht and was an immediate starter. That year on the team Bernardez led a backline that helped the Earthquakes capture their first supporters shield title since 2005. Not only was he an imposing defender but he also had one of the most powerful legs in all of MLS. It’s not easy to clear the scoreboard above the massive bar at Avaya Stadium, but I have personally witnessed Muma doing just that while trying for a spectacular free kick goal. After his option was not picked up for the 2018 season, the Earthquakes struggled to plug the hole in the middle of the defense, and they gave up 71 goals, the most ever in a single season in Earthquakes history.
These days Bernardez is still around soccer (and San Jose) putting on clinics and working as an agent in California. I understand players get older and the economics of soccer have no loyalties but not seeing Bernardez on the pitch in 2018 felt like the team was incomplete, especially with those dismal results. The Earthquakes front office has a couple of months to figure out a replacement or next year could turn into another season with a lousy defense.
Check back tomorrow to see what we have behind door number 14!