ORLANDO, Fla. – As U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Gregg Berhalter has worked closely with Matt Turner at the annual January camp, it’s been evident just how much the New England Revolution goalkeeper has advanced in the past year.
“Matt certainly has improved,” said Berhalter. “I think it’s night and day compared to him last January camp. He had the reflexes last January, but now his whole game has improved. You can see he’s gained confidence in that whole season behind him and it’s really improved him.”
After Turner’s standout 2020 season, leading the Revs to a new club record for lowest goals against average in a year (1.08 GAA), setting a new personal record with six shutouts in a single season, and capping it off by earning both Revolution Players’ Player of the Year and Team MVP, even Turner himself recognizes his immense professional growth.
“I played a lot better this January camp than last January camp,” said Turner. “I think I was more myself. I didn’t try to do too much, I didn’t try to do too little either. I feel really a lot more comfortable with the style of play and it’s those small details that are big at this level that make a big difference.
“More games under my belt with the Revolution has been super helpful because at the end of the day, what you do here is one thing, but the way you get here is by playing well with your club.”
Turner has translated his strong play in New England directly into January camp amongst some of the nation’s strongest players.
“He’s looking sharp in the [training] games,” said Berhalter. “He’s made big saves. That’s really a hallmark of what we know Matt to be able to do is his big-save ability. He needs to continue to work with his feet, continue to improve to build up as a goalkeeper, but he’s doing a great job. We’re really happy with him.”
While Turner’s mentality at January camp is taking each day, each rep, and each opportunity as they come, he has his eyes set on a new career milestone. The 26-year-old could potentially make his first-ever international appearance in the USMNT friendly against Trinidad & Tobago on Sunday, January 31 (7 p.m. ET, FS1).
“If the opportunity presents itself, I’m so grateful for it,” said Turner. “Who knows, hopefully my name is on that XI sheet when the time comes this Sunday against Trinidad and Tobago, but I’ve worked really hard in training for an opportunity.
“I think it’s gone well for me so far. I feel comfortable with the performances I’ve strung together and now I’m just focused on building up to this game on Sunday, hopefully getting that chance to make my first cap for the U.S. Men's National Team.”
🗣 “The reason I got into soccer was because of the World Cup run in 2010…11 years later to have the chance to wear the crest on a matchday is nothing short of a dream come true.”— U.S. Soccer MNT (@USMNT) January 26, 2021
With 👀 on his #USMNT debut, things could come full circle for @HeaddTurnerr on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/6hDEla0f3Y
Turner is one of three goalkeepers on the 25-player U.S. roster available for Sunday along with JT Marcinkowski and Matt Freese, who were both called up from the Under-23 team. There are zero international appearances between these three players, which means that one will certainly make a debut.
When Turner thinks about the potential to earn his first cap, wearing the U.S. crest on his chest, he is taken back to the memory that first ignited his love for soccer.
“For me, the reason I got into soccer in the first place is because of the World Cup run in 2010 and that’s always been so special to me,” said Turner. “It’s what ignited me to become passionate about this game.
“Eleven years later to be able to have the chance even to wear the crest on a match day is nothing short of a dream come true.”