Victor Bernardez - In My Words
SJEarthquakes.com

IN MY WORDS: The Life of Victor Bernardez

I grew up in Honduras in La Ceiba. I had a happy childhood, sometimes things were tough as they say, but La Ceiba is city that is crazy about soccer and I had a lot of fun growing up there. I used to play barefoot in the street with my friends.

The neighborhood that I grew up in was close and connected. If some of the neighbors did not have food, the others would share theirs with them. It was a calm and happy place. I grew up with my grandma, mom, sisters, aunts and cousins in one house. I shared a room with my mom. There were challenges, but we were always a close, modest and humble family.

One moment that I always remember from my youth is when Hurricane Mitch struck. We had to leave the house running. The house had two floors and the first floor was filled with water. I remember this well because we were on the second floor and we had to go to another family member’s house. This stuck with me and I will always remember it.

We lost furniture and the refrigerator in the storm, but it affected my aunts more because they lived in the part of the house that was damaged by the water. We lost many things, but material objects can always be replaced with time. We were all close in the house and thankfully, nothing bad happened to us. After two or three days everything calmed down. I returned home and a couple of days later I was playing soccer with my friends again. 

It was a nice childhood. I was always playing soccer at school and at home. I wore out my shoes playing so much. When I was five years old, my mom gave me my first soccer ball as a present. I remember it well. It was my first ball and my mom gave it to me so I will never forget it. 

Soccer is in my blood. My family is a big soccer family. My grandpa played and was the head coach of Vida, which is my city’s team. My uncle played as well. I always had this dream of playing for Motagua and for Vida, and thankfully, I had the opportunity.

I remember my first professional game. It was a clásico between Motagua and Olimpia. I think we ended up losing 1-0. I did not sleep the day before because my mind was racing thinking about it. I remember the first game that I played with La Ceiba and the Earthquakes as well.

It was through my uncle that I got to play for Motagua and move to the capital. He had friends there and spoke with the general manager. The path has been long to get here, but I have enjoyed it.

The players know that those of us who have come from more humble backgrounds have had a more difficult journey. I played in Motagua and then went to Belgium where I did not get much game time. Those were hard times for me. I also played in Mexico but they did not pay me. There are things that sometimes people do not believe about players, but there are tough moments for us. All of these things have made me stronger.

My mom and my grandma did not like to watch me play because they were nervous that something would happen and I would get injured, but my daughters and my wife always come to support me. That being said, my mom is always engaged with what I do. My family is my motivation. 

I met my wife Wendy though a mutual friend. I went to Honduras in 2007 and my friend told me about her. I had seen Wendy on TV and told my friend I was interested. I got her phone number and we started talking. After dating for a year and six months we got married and now have two daughters: Ananda and Megan. I also have a daughter called Victoria who is 12 and lives in Honduras with my mom. 

Having children changes things. There is a lot of responsibility but it also beautiful. My daughters have changed my life. They are my motivation. Every day I see them they give me the strength to keep working. 

I played on the Honduras National Team for 10 years before I retired two years ago. I missed the birth of my daughter Ananda because I was with the national team. Her fifth birthday was the first one I attended – I missed the first four because I was working. I was there when Megan was born and was able to fulfill my dream of being there for the birth of one of my daughters.

I never met my father. I only know that he died when I was 13. He had a different family. I do not want my daughters to go through what I did and not know their dad. I had my mom and grandma who were both my mother and father at the same time. I thank God for them. My grandma looked after me while my mom went to work as a cook. 

This past Christmas I went to La Ceiba and spent time with my childhood friends. Now that we are grown, we remember the happy memories that we made during our childhood. They are proud of what I have done. It is nice spending time with the people you grew up with. 

While I was there, I bought bread, Coca Cola and food and gave it to people in La Ceiba. It made me happy to share with them because there were times that I did not have those things. I am very blessed to be in this position.

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