On Monday, November 27, the Quakes announced that Victor Bernardez was one of seven players not to have their contract options exercised for the 2018 season. Age was certainly a factor in the decision, as Bernardez, the oldest member of the Quakes’ 2017 roster, turns 36 next May.
Muma has been a force on San Jose’s backline since joining the team in December of 2011. Over the past six seasons, he has tallied six goals and six assists, leading the club to the postseason twice and lifting the Supporters’ Shield in 2012.
His name is scattered all over the team’s record book, ranking fourth in starts (161), sixth in minutes played (14,123) and seventh in appearances (162) all-time. Next to forward Chris Wondolowski, he may be the player most synonymous with the Earthquakes since the club’s re-birth in 2008.
Bernardez lived and breathed San Jose. He never took a moment with the club for granted. Upon learning of the team’s decision to move in a new direction, he came to the facility to pack up all his belongings in the locker room. A consummate professional, Bernardez thanked his teammates and training staff. He even walked upstairs and hugged every single member of the team’s Front Office, from marketing to operations to fan relations and sales in a final gesture of gratitude.
As the page turns, not seeing Bernardez running out onto the field will likely take some getting used to. But after all, this is a part of the game that’s inevitable for every player at one point or another.
He can be proud of everything he accomplished here and leaves a legacy behind that all players in the team’s academy, who have been fortunate to watch him for the last few years, can hope to emulate.