FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner there is always another achievement to strive towards, and his next is with his call up to the U.S. Men’s National Team for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
“Job one would be to get the start on the first match day, and hopefully turn that into a run of games at the Gold Cup, play well and sort of make my case,” said Turner. “I think it’s also learning how to travel, play and train when you can and sort of dealing with all of the difficulties that playing in a tournament style might present. The games mean a little bit more. They pack a little bit more punch.
“It should be a lot of fun, a great challenge and like I said, I’m looking forward to making my own case.”
Turner will join the U.S. as one of 16 teams competing in the group stage when the tournament kicks off on July 10, and the elimination round will take place from July 24- August 1 until one team is left standing.
Turner’s Gold Cup call comes after making his USMNT debut as the starting goalkeeper in a 7-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago in late January, in which Turner made a massive 65th-minute penalty save to preserve the clean sheet and become the first USMNT goalkeeper to save a penalty in a debut.
No matter what new milestone Turner reaches, he is always seeking to further progress.
“I always feel like I have something to prove,” said Turner. “Even [though] I’ve played over 100 professional games now, every time I step out onto the field, regardless of who the opponent is, regardless of what competition it is, I’m the type of person and player that feels like I can always prove something, I can always get better and so that’s my mindset I’ll take into this camp, as well.”
While Turner humbly focuses on his development, his teammates hype him up with each new opportunity.
When longtime friend and teammate Andrew Farrell was asked about Turner’s call up on the Far Post Podcast presented by Esports Gaming League, he stepped away and came back with a USMNT Turner jersey.
“I’m going to be rooting for Turner,” Farrell said proudly with the jersey in hand. “I’m pretty pumped. He’s earned it. He deserves it. I know he’s pretty pumped, but he wants to keep it level headed. He’s going to do great. He’s worked so hard for it.”
Farrell said he knew early on that there was something special about Turner, even when he was fresh out of Fairfield University as the Revolution's third-string goalkeeper.
“His shot stopping ability [stood out],” said Farrell. “The third-string keeper does a lot more of the dirty work in the shooting drills. No one would score on [Turner], which hardly ever happens. Since he was third string, he would go all out on all the saves, like going down to the right, getting back up, going down to the left. It’s the stuff that he does now, and I thought once he puts it all together he’s going to be good.”
While Turner grasps hold of his chance with the USMNT, it also leaves a big opportunity in net for Brad Knighton or Earl Edwards Jr. for the month of July. With two quality keepers to fill Turner’s shoes for up to five MLS matches, they will hold down the fort until his return.
“We’re pretty confident,” said Farrell. “They’ve been getting games with Revs II here and there to prepare for this moment. Either one of those guys could step up and fill in perfectly.
“Obviously, we want to make their jobs easier so we have to start playing better defensively. The last three games haven’t been good enough. We have a big test against Columbus, but during the month of July, it’s going to be important for us to keep our momentum going until Matt comes back.”
Turner will join the national team on July 5 following the Revs’ away match on July 3 at the Columbus Crew, which will be nationally televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes (5 p.m. ET).