Patrice Bernier and the Montreal Impact finally agreed on a new contract for the team captain and Canadian national team member.
The contract terms were not disclosed other than it is a one year contract with an option for the second year.
This contract is not really a surprise for anyone involved. Both parties had said that they wanted to keep going in this direction, Bernier playing and captaining his hometown team and Frank Klopas and Adam Braz who both said work on a new contract was always on the cards.
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Still, it took a little longer than expected, probably due to the length (Bernier is 35) and salary. The MLS does have a Salary Cap to deal with, and Bernier is not the player he was and at the age of 35 is closer to the end of his career than his prime.
However, Bernier’s hometown roots and leadership are key to this team both on and off the field. Reports from fans and media had said that if Bernier was not brought back, fans would stay away.
He is by far the best local talent to play for the team in years, and especially since the team joined Major League Soccer. It goes without saying that if he chooses he can have a job in the Impact front office as perhaps the most recognizable soccer play to come out of the city.
Bernier made 20 starts in 26 games but you can expect to see more of a rotation in the center of the midfield for the Impact who added Marco Donadel and Nigel Reo-Coker to that position.
That is a good sign for the Impact because although Bernier is a great leader and has had a great career – and is still a good player – he’s not someone you want to rely on to be your best player.
Keeping Bernier fresh throughout the season will also help him on the field.
It has been a busy week for the Impact. Today marks the first stage of the re-entry draft as well, which is similar to the Waiver Draft. Montreal will have the first pick.
We can probably assume more of the same to come in the next few weeks with the MLS Superdraft coming up January 15. The Impact will have the third pick, right after the two Expansion teams.