CHARLOTTE, N.C. – New England Revolution left back DeJuan Jones and former goalkeeper Matt Turner believe the defender is thriving on international duty with the United States Men’s National Team.
The pair are currently away with the Stars and Stripes, representing their country at the Concacaf Gold Cup and readying themselves for Sunday’s quarterfinal clash with Canada.
Debutant Jones has impressed at his maiden tournament, following up his first competitive senior appearance with an assist in the 6-0 triumph over Trinidad and Tobago, as the USMNT topped Group A to advance – and both he and former Revs teammate Turner are proud of his contribution.
“It’s been amazing to play two games in a row, and to notch my first assist in a convincing way,” Jones reflected in a press conference alongside Turner. “It was a great experience for me.
“We're just looking to continue to build on these experiences and grow as a group. I feel like my confidence has grown as well just playing in bigger games, so it's been it's been great, and I’m continuing to grind, and do whatever I can in training to put my best foot forward.
“It’s just every day competing – that's what this environment is about: everyone's doing their best, and trying their best to get on the field – so it’s just every day grinding, and doing the best we can to show what we can do and contribute on the field.”
Turner, who made history at the tournament by becoming the fastest goalkeeper to have tallied 20 wins and 20 shutouts for the USMNT – accomplishing the feat in just 30 games – also acknowledged the growth of his defensive teammate, tipping a bright future for Jones.
“It’s been really nice to catch up with DeJuan here again,” he said. “We’re birthday buddies!
“We obviously were really close when we were in New England. I’m really grateful he got to spend some more time with Ash (Matt’s wife) and my son Easton, and get to know them a little bit; I got to see his family, as well – people I haven’t seen in probably like a year or so.
“It’s always nice to have those connections. That’s part of what I love about this game – how it brings people together, and that you can create relationships with people you might never have been able to meet or be in the same place as.
“It’s been really great. Watching him grow, and grow into this role of outside back, being challenged in a different environment with a different intensity of game, different types of games; seeing him grow as a player, and also as a person has been really great.
“I want him to be able to fit out of the door on the way out of this interview, so I’m not going to big him up too much! But everyone knows how level-headed he is, and how great of a player he is, so his ceiling is really, really high.
“Looking at those guys across the line: DeJuan, JMi (John Tolkin) – guys that had never had the experience of playing in the National Team for an extended period of time, being in this environment for an extended period time; playing in a group stage format, now knockout rounds …
“I’ve seen a great camaraderie, a great togetherness, fair competition, and just guys pushing each other: striving to get better but also supporting each other on the other side, even when things don’t go their way. It’s been a really great group to watch grow, and now is the real fun!”
Jones was equally complimentary of "role model" shot-stopper and New England hero Turner, who helped the Revs to the 2021 Supporters’ Shield (clinching the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award in the process), before earning a transfer to Premier League giants Arsenal, where he now plies his trade between the sticks.
“Seeing Matt over there gives us all at the Revs great pride and great joy,” the left back hailed.
“He’s an unbelievable goalkeeper but an even better person, so to see him succeeding at the highest level is really encouraging, and really motivational for guys like myself, who are pushing to get to Europe, and play at the highest level.
“Matt’s been a great role model for a lot of us.”
The USMNT face Canada in the Gold Cup quarterfinals on Sunday, July 9 (7:30 p.m. ET. Tune in on the FOX and Univision Networks).