Brossard native and Montreal Impact captain Patrice Bernier gave fans one last moment to cheer Sunday; he scored in his final game before retiring from professional soccer.
The 38-year-old Bernier joined Global’s Laura Casella to talk about the final goal of his career and the significance it held.
For the Impact’s last Major League Soccer (MLS) game of 2017, a home game against the New England Revolution, Bernier’s parents were invited to ring the celebratory bell; a tradition at Saputo Stadium for goals and victories.
His chance came in injury time at the end of the first half.
“The scenario played itself perfectly, I get a penalty, my trademark since I’ve been with the Impact, on the side where my parents are, where the bell is,” Bernier recounted.
“It wasn’t like usual penalties, usually I’m quite cold and phase out everything, this time I knew my parents were there — I had to be extra focused.”
Bernier’s final golden strike hit the lower right of the net after beating a sprawled out Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
He ran straight to the goal line to blow kisses as his parents proudly rang the bell for him during his final professional goal celebration, in Montreal.
It wasn’t until the game’s 80th minute when bittersweet tears flooded Saputo Stadium, Bernier was subbed off one last time, an emotional moment for him and his Impact teammates. The Impact went on to lose 3-2, the Revolution game winning goal was scored in injury time after the 90th minute.
His professional career had come full circle, he began with the Impact in 2000, left to play for European football clubs in 2003 and was also part of Soccer Canada’s program since his youth eligibility.
He reflected on what it meant to come home in 2012 and be the captain of the club where it had all started.
His final season with the team saw the Impact on the outside of the MLS playoffs after finishing with a record of 11-17-6.
In recent years, Bernier led the Impact to success in the CONCACAF Champions League but never to the trophy. Bernier and the team were on the wrong side of a heart-breaking MLS Eastern Conference Final loss to bitter rival Toronto FC last year.
As the lights dim on the midfielder’s playing career, Bernier still plans on being in the mix as the organization hopes to regain elite status in the MLS.
“The club will always be here and we’ll move on, striving,” Bernier said.
“There is a lot of passion, there’s ups and downs, but the good thing is that there is no indifference with the Impact.”
Bernier has his sights set on coaching in the Montreal Impact Academy in his retirement from playing soccer.