Matt Turner became an immediate fan favorite when his Cinderella story saw him take over the New England Revolution starting goalkeeper position in 2018. Since then, the 25-year-old has grasped hold of his opportunity, and hasn’t looked back.
1. High School Soccer Newbie
Turner’s progression to MLS was anything but traditional. He first tried out for his high school soccer team as a field player as a way to stay in shape for both basketball and baseball. After the first day of tryouts, Turner wasn’t planning on going back for the second day, but his father convinced him to take his sister’s old goalie gloves to give the keeper position a go. Turner popped between the sticks and never looked back.
It wasn’t until the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa when then-16-year-old Turner was inspired to switch his year-round club sport from baseball to soccer, because he was taken aback by the incredible passion and atmosphere of the game. Following his high school efforts, Turner ultimately walked on to Fairfield University’s soccer team his freshman year after crushing a one-day tryout for the Stags.
When asked what his younger self would say about his current success in MLS, Turner laughed and said, “He would probably be confused why I’m not playing baseball.”
Today's a day I never thought would actually be a reality. I want to thank my family and friends for their constant love and support, they always have picked me up from the lows and brought me back down from the highs. Senior Night tonight @ Lessing Field @ 7pm, come out and support us one last time! #GoStags #12
2. A Cinderella Story
In 2018, the New England Revolution switched into a new coaching regime under former head coach Brad Friedel, which meant that every player had a clean slate to win starting positions. Turner was the third string keeper for his first two seasons with the Revs. However, Friedel, a legendary goalkeeper himself, saw something in Turner, and after proving himself during the preseason Turner earned the starting spot.
Turner started 27 games in 2018, but the tables were turned in 2019 when the starting goalkeeper position was awarded to Brad Knighton. After the Revs started out 2-8-2 under Friedel, a coaching change was made as sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena took over.
Turner was awarded the No. 1 goalkeeper position under Arena for 20 games, and finished fifth in 2019 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year voting after ranking third in saves percentage (74.8), fifth in winning percentage (.639), and second in saves per 90 minutes (4.54) during the season.
3. Turning Up with the USMNT
Following Turner’s successful 20 games in 2019, he received his first-ever call up to the U.S. Men’s National Team.
The first-time national teamer was called up for a pre-camp and a pair of Concacaf Nations League games in November, and then for the team’s annual January camp to start out 2020.
“It absolutely does because you’re called to take on a different role. There’s roles [with the Revs] where I’m more of a leader, more established, and there I’m a newbie and don’t have as much experience. This camp helped me grow.”
- Turner on the juxtaposition of becoming a newbie with the USMNT while also being a veteran with the Revs
4. A Not-So-Hidden Talent
The best way to spread Christmas cheer … is by making holiday parodies for New England fans to hear.
Turner humored the Revs’ digital department by agreeing to star in their “Elf” holiday parodies in 2018, and the short scenes were incredibly popular among Revolution fans.
Merry Christmas everybody🎄Hope you all enjoyed these videos as much as I enjoyed being able to help create them for you. Less than a month til we’re back at it and I can’t wait! #NERevs pic.twitter.com/mKj2HWJ5D4— Matt Turner (@headdturnerr) December 25, 2018
5. Turned Roommate Extraordinaire
Many Revolution players have lived together in previous years. Turner is a former roommate of Andrew Farrell and Scott Caldwell.
While not all roommate situations last forever, the friendships sure do. Turner and Farrell oftentimes even continue to show their affection on social media.
Bday alert🚨🚨 Mr. MVP @headdturnerr aka Sam Smith aka Nigel thornberry aka Mr. Saves for dayzzzz aka I sing in the car for fun is turning 24 tomorrow show him some love and give him a follow. #NERevs #Timmyturner #SamSmith #MRMVP #NigelThornberry @headdturnerr @headdturnerr @headdturnerr @nerevolution @mls