MONTREAL – The Montreal Impact announced on Monday the signing of Quebec native midfielder Patrice Bernier. As per club and Major League Soccer (MLS) policy, details of the contract were not disclosed.
A native of Brossard and current resident of Montreal’s south shore, Bernier, 32, will make his return with the Impact, formerly wearing the team’s colours from 2000-2002. A current Canadian National Team member, he previously played nine seasons in Europe, with Moss F.K and Tromso IL in Norway, FC Kaiserslautern in Germany, as well as FC Nordsjaelland and Lyngby BK in Denmark.
“We have been in talks with Patrice for quite some time and we are extremely pleased that he will be joining the Impact for the 2012 season,” said Impact head coach Jesse Marsch. “His years of experience in top leagues in Europe will provide the team with savvy and intelligence. As a player, he is very sharp on the ball and his tactical awareness will be a great value in the midfield. As a person, he is a good man and a strong leader. Patrice is very excited and ready for the challenge of helping our club reach the next level.”
“Patrice started his career with the club and returns at a good age, with 10 years of European experience," said Impact sporting director Nick De Santis. "As we build this team, he is a very important piece of the puzzle and will play a big role. We know he will wear the jersey with pride and high regard, and we think he can influence other players on this team to feel the same. He is a Montrealer who will connect with the supporters, the media and our partners, but the most important thing is his qualities as a player. The arrival of MLS in Montreal allows us to bring home one of the best Quebec players in history. ”
“I am extremely happy to be coming home to continue my playing career in Montreal with a return to the Impact,” said Patrice Bernier. “MLS is a big project for me and for the organization. At this point in my career, it is a challenge that really motivates me. I am happy to be joining the league at the top of my game.”
Bernier started his European career in Norway, playing 40 games for second division side Moss F.K. in 2003 and 2004 before making the jump to the first division with Tromso IL, at midseason 2004, scoring four goals in 68 career games in the Norwegian first division. In 2005, he played in six UEFA Cup matches, helping Tromso IL beat Turkish giants Galatasaray S.K. in the first round before playing in the group stage against RC Strasbourg (France), A.S. Roma (Italy), FC Basel (Switzerland) and Red Star Belgrade (Serbia). In 2005, Turkish club Besiktas Istanbul offered 1.3 million € to obtain Bernier’s services, but Tromso refused. That same year, he was named the club’s Player of the Year.
Bernier then joined FC Kaiserslautern, then in the 2.Bundesliga, Germany’s second division, on May 28, 2007, scoring one goal in 15 games. He went on to play in two national DFB-Pokal championship games with the club.
He then played over 90 games in all competitions combined with FC Nordsjaelland, from the summer of 2008 until the summer of 2011, winning the Danish Cup in 2010 and 2011. He was voted Player of the Year in 2010 by the supporters of FC Nordsjaelland. He took part in four qualifying matches and two UEFA Cup games in 2008, against legendary Greek club Olympiacos F.C., along with two qualifying matches for the Europa League in 2010, against Portuguese club Sporting CP.
Most recently in 2011, he played a half season with first division side Lyngby BK, in the Danish Superliga, scoring two goals in 12 games. He was named the team’s MVP for the first half of the season.
On the international stage, Bernier has played a total of 47 games for the Canadian National Team, in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2005, 2007 and 2009, as well as FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in 2004 and 2008. He most recently played in two games against Saint-Kitts-and Nevis, last November, in qualification for the 2012 World Cup. He has also been a member of the U23, U20 and U17 National Teams. He was also named Canadian Soccer Association Player of the Year in 2010.
Prior to making the jump to Europe, Bernier played three seasons in Montreal, in the North American second division. In 73 games and 6,445 minutes with the club, he scored five goals and 12 assists for 22 points.
Weight: 170 lbs
Birth date: September 23, 1979, Brossard, Québec
Place of residence: Brossard, QC
Former club: Lyngby BK (Denmark)
Acquired: December 19, 2011