FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner said that he wanted to ‘prove himself’ when he was called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team pre-camp in early November.
The 25-year-old did just that, as he impressed head coach Gregg Berhalter and his coaching staff to be named to their 23-man roster. Turner then appeared on the bench for a pair of Concacaf National League wins, finishing 4-1 against Canada, and 4-0 against Cuba.
“I was excited to be able to see all that up close,” expressed Turner. “I would have been happy with just the pre-camp. Getting called into the 23-man pre-camp roster was a really awesome thing – just to be able to be there with the team for those games, and see what it means to wear the crest up close in person.”
Turner learned the work that is put in by every single member on the USMNT. He wasn’t shy to step up anywhere he could, no matter how big or small the job.
“I came every day really ready to work,” said Turner. “If that meant guys wanted to do extra finishing at the end of the practice, I was going to stay in goal and do all the finishing. I wasn’t going to go lightly. I was going to try my best.
“Those little things – Helping guys carry things in and out of the field and not being late to any meals – just approaching every day with a good mentality and being somebody that you would want to be a teammate with, rather than just worrying about myself.”
The fourth-year pro brought that same passion and diligent, team mentality during training.
“The intensity every single day that you need to bring to be able to compete in training is just another level because it’s very, very cutthroat,” said Turner.
“I think that probably my biggest takeaway is that you need to be ready at all moments because every day really means something while you’re on the training field.”
Turner was one of three goalkeepers on the 23-man roster, as he was working closely in training with both Atlanta United’s Brad Guzan and New York City FC’s Sean Johnson. Both veteran keepers have at least a decade of professional experience, giving Turner as a fourth-year pro a chance to learn from players who have a wealth of career knowledge to share.
“Pulling off them, pulling off of their experiences, talking with them and also training with them, I think was very helpful for me in all areas of my game – including my feet skills, my handling skills, my just general approach to certain situations as a goalkeeper,” said Turner about the veterans.
“I think it’s important because everybody has their own unique style. If you can pull off of different people’s experiences in certain areas, you begin to create your own unique style. I think I’m on my way in that sense.”
Turner has dreamed of these types of experiences and putting on his nation’s crest for quite some time. When he had the chance to represent his country and wear the U.S. jersey, it was a very special moment.
“I was just very, very grateful,” said Turner. “It was one of those realizations that you can’t take anything for granted, because I know next camp I could not get called in, so you need to really cherish the moments and the opportunities you get when you have them.”
Turner’s will now hope for his next opportunity to potentially be called to the USMNT annual January camp, as the group prepares to face Honduras in the Concacaf Nations League semifinals next June.
The young goalkeeper said that Berhalter left him with just three words regarding next steps: “We’ll talk soon.’”