Fernando Patterson is a true legend of Xelajú football club, having helped them to three Guatemalan championships. Source: Newspaper Library PL
Fernando Patterson is a true legend of Xelajú football club, having helped them to three Guatemalan championships. Source: Newspaper Library PL

When goalkeepers score: A prophet who became famous in a foreign land

Football OlyBet 16.03.2024

Scoring goals is a real art in football, which of course is best done by strikers. However, some midfielders and defenders are undeniably good at it too – we have already introduced you to the latter on Olybet.TV.

However, it can happen sometimes that the goalkeeper’s name also appears on the scoreboard, and it is not connected with an own goal. We’ll now introduce you to these extraordinary goalies as part of another ten-part series.

8th place – Fernando Patterson (35 goals)

The saying that no prophet is famous in his own country is especially true for Costa Rican Fernando Patterson. Although the goalkeeper started his career in his home country, he made a name for himself across the border in Guatemala, where he became such a star that when the old master ended his career at the age of 43, hosannas were sung for him nationwide.

Born in La Francia de Siquirre, Patterson’s first steps on his football journey were difficult. That’s because the 1990s were simply a difficult time for Costa Rica. So although the man’s first home club was Limonese, he could not stay there due to lack of money.

He spent the following years in Turrialba, a total of four seasons, and in Municipal Puntarenas, until 1996 when it was clear to Patterson that he would not be able to get too lucky with football in his homeland.

Played as a striker too, occasionally

The only thing that kept him in Costa Rica for so long was the opportunity to test himself as a striker from time to time: for example, he scored four times as a midfielder for Puntarenas.

However, at one point the joy of scoring a goal was not enough – it still did not bring enough money in – so Patterson decided to move on to Guatemala.

There, he became a goalkeeper again and put on the shirt of Xelajú, in whose ranks he became a true legend. How did he achieve this? With titles, of course! Namely, Patterson helped the club become the national champion in the first season, after a 16-year break.

Here and there as a traveler

Although the goalie has generally been described as calm – something perhaps uncharacteristic for a Central American – this was not reflected in his choice of clubs. Because Patterson surely couldn’t stay put in one place. So, after two seasons spent in Xelajú, he moved on to Municipal Guatemala. From there back to Xelajú, and from there in turn to Cobán Imperial.

Those wandering years did not bring him honors, but in the last one, Patterson got his chance at penalties. The result? As many as seven hits in the Guatemalan Premier League!

For the 1999/2000 season he returned to Xelajú – it was already his third stint at the club – and started taking penalties there as well, thus continuing to increase his cult following. In that season, he scored as many as ten goals, one of which was also a free kick.

Soon, however, Patterson’s wanderer’s soul became restless again and he returned to his homeland: first in the ranks of Cartaginés and then San Ramonense. Until – you guessed it – he ended up at Xelajú for the fourth time.

Best goalkeeper’s trophy

The period from 2004 to 2008 was the best and also the most successful of Patterson’s career: during this time, for example, he was chosen as the best goalkeeper in the league (a trophy named after Josue Danny Ortiz) and also managed to get another gold medal at the Guatemala Championship in 2007.

However, Patterson was on the move once again, wearing the shirt of both home club San Carlos and fellow Guatemalans Heredia Jaguares over the next two years, until in the 09/10 season he was in Xelajú for the fifth time.

He managed to celebrate this move with awards yet again: Xelajú was crowned the winner of the Guatemala Cup, and Patterson pocketed the Ortiz trophy as the second-best goalkeeper.

In the 10/11 season, Patterson made another detour, this time in Xinabajul, until in the summer of 2011, he pulled on the shirt of Xelajú again – for the sixth time.

Although he was already pushing fifty, he continued to be at a top-notch level, steering his team to the 2012 Clasura – in Central America, the league seasons are divided into two, Apartura and Clasura – championship.

In the final, it was Patterson who became the hero, repelling as many as three (!) attempts made against him in the penalty shootout.

After such a feat, football lovers in Quetzaltenango – where Xelajú is based – even came up with the idea that the firefighters’ statue in the heart of the city should be replaced by Patterson’s.

“Maybe they just said it for the sake of saying it, but actually it’s a great honor to hear something like that. To win a title at the age of 42 is something special. I acted just like Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech, who said before the Champions League final that as this could be his last time to win the Champions League, he was going to go 100% all in on the pitch. I had the same approach!” said Patterson, who became the most successful player in the club’s history with that victory, after the sweet triumph.

After that, he spent one more season at Xelajú, after which he finally concluded a long career at the age of 43.

When asked after the departure game, whether he was satisfied with his journey in football, he simply answered: “I am satisfied with everything I managed to achieve.” However, he admitted that one small dream remained unfulfilled: namely, Patterson never managed to make it to the Club World Cup.

Kept a low profile in the media

In general, the Costa Rican was a man of few words. “I don’t like giving interviews. Fortunately, here in Guatemala this wish is respected. The press here knows that I don’t talk to the media and I don’t get asked any questions,” he told alDia, for example.

Since he didn’t like to talk, we’ll end our story with words from the Costa Rican sports journalist Jorge Camaño: “Fernando Patterson was a true legend: a man who always gave his best, but at the same time he was like a prophet – he was not famous in his own country. If he hadn’t moved to Guatemala at the time, he probably would have ended his career ten years earlier. In Guatemala, however, he was truly embraced and blessed with a new home – for life!”

Patterson’s 35 goals as a goalkeeper were distributed as follows: 21 for Xelaju, 7 for Coban Imperial, 3 for Xinabajuli, 3 for Heredia Jaguares and 1 for San Ramones.


When goalkeepers score article series:


P.S. If you’re interested in our “When Defenders Score” series, you can check them out here:


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