FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner re-signed with the club earlier this week, he described his emotions simply: “It just felt right.”
Turner’s new contract follows a standout 2020 season, as he led the Revs to a new club record for lowest goals against average in a year (1.08 GAA), set a new personal record with six shutouts in a single season, and capped it off by earning both Revolution Players’ Player of the Year as well as Team MVP.
The 26-year-old’s efforts are not only reflected in his statistics and accolades, but also by the action of sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena offering Turner a new contract – especially given that the goalkeeper had re-signed with the club just last year.
“It was an easy decision to want to stay here and continue to prove myself in this league,” said Turner. “[Arena] showed me that I played well and that I deserved more money. He wanted to see me commit more years to the team so there’s one extra year on the end of it. I think it’s a good example for the other guys on the team that there’s a reward for playing well here in New England.”
Turner said that Arena "tells it like it is" to the team. The head coach pulled each player aside prior to the postseason to specifically define their roles en route to the Eastern Conference Final. That sense of transparency, both on and off the field, has allowed Turner to grow both his skillset and confidence.
“As a player it means the world to know where you stand in a coach’s mind,” said Turner. “To know exactly what your role is, it’s a super powerful thing.
“When you have 25 guys that are on the same page, they know their role, and they know what they can do to help the team the best, it’s a beautiful thing and it creates this energy around the locker room that boosts everyone’s play. It really simplifies the game so when you’re in higher-pressure moments you can execute, so having that candidness [and] transparency has been really helpful for a lot of guys.”
As Turner enters his sixth professional season, he has come a long way in New England since originally signing in 2016 as an undrafted college player from Fairfield University. After two seasons without a single appearance with the Revs, Turner earned his chance to prove himself as a starter in 2018, and has advanced his skillset with every appearance registered in the past three campaigns (69 MLS starts, 16 career shutouts, 238 saves, and a record of 24-21-23).
Turner’s talent and work ethic have also been recognized at the international level by the U.S. Men’s National Team, as the Park Ridge, N.J., native is currently participating in his third career call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team at their January Camp in Bradenton, Fla.
“I think it’s a huge advantage because every time [I] step onto the field, I try to get better so it helps me get sharper around players that are of the highest level, of the National Team level,” said Turner. “That helps me to become a better goalkeeper because of it.
“I’m playing in a style that I’m not particularly comfortable with, but I’m getting better and better at it, and that’s just going to add to my arsenal of what I bring onto the field with the Revolution as well as learning to play with new players that I’m not really familiar with.”
The USMNT will play a friendly against Trinidad & Tobago on January 31, and as the only goalkeeper in camp currently on the senior roster, the 26-year-old may soon be able to add an additional milestone to his career: his first-ever international appearance.
After Turner returns from his USMNT shift, he has his eyes set on another lofty ambition in his new contract with the Revolution.
“My goal here while I’m in New England is to win championships, bring things home to these fans who are so deserving of that," he said.