He’ll fit right in at Arsenal.
US men’s national team goalkeeper Matt Turner, making the rounds Sunday evening at Gillette Stadium after the New England Revolution’s 2-1 home win over Minnesota United FC, was signing autographs for fans.
When the queue produced a fan sporting a Tottenham jersey, Turner – perhaps playfully – skipped past him.
Suffice to say the Premier League-bound MLS standout knows full well the rivalry dynamics that await in North London.
The sequence came after Turner’s farewell match, one he observed from the bench as the Revs further transition their goalkeeping reins to Djordje Petrovic, a once-capped Serbian international signed in April.
And thus ended the 27-year-old’s tenure in New England, a remarkable rise from an undrafted free agent to a 2021 MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year award and contender for the USMNT’s No. 1 perch at the Qatar 2022 World Cup this November.
Naturally, emotions were high given all he’s experienced in Foxborough.
“The emotional nature of it all is, it's a lot. I'm still 27-28, you know? I'm still learning how to cope with all that,” said Turner, taking no issue with serving as backup vs. Minnesota. “On top of that, my wife's in England nine months pregnant. So, I got a lot of stuff going on. So, maybe I wouldn't have put my best performance out there tonight, and then I'm kicking myself because I left on a bad note.”
Turner became the Revs’ starter in 2018, growing by leaps and bounds into someone who’ll now battle for playing time with England international Aaron Ramsdale for an Arsenal side competing in the 2022-23 Europa League. As someone who didn’t seriously pursue goalkeeping until his high school years, Turner knows he’s charted an unorthodox path – and thrived.
That contrast leaves him especially grateful for postgame moments like on Sunday at Gillette Stadium, when Revolution supporters showered him with appreciation.
“Walking over to the fans, the gift they gave me with the flag signed by all the supporters was truly just so special, something I'll cherish for the rest of my life for sure,” Turner said. “The signs that kids are holding up saying that they played goalkeeper because of me … for me to have an influence on a few of the youth is just truly spectacular.
“I think that that's what really got me because I always looked up to people and the fact that people look up to me, especially here, it's amazing.”
Turner, the latest in a line of American goalkeepers to tackle the Premier League, knows minutes may be scarce at first. But he’s met every challenge head-on in his professional career, and the Arsenal chapter will be no different.
“My only goal was to get better every single day and that's going to continue to be my mentality going forward,” Turner said. “From here on out, I'm going to go over there, get comfortable, have a kid, get uncomfortable, and then from there just put my best foot forward every single day and do my best to earn the love from the fans – same love from the fans there that I did here.”
Revolution head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena will be eagerly watching Turner’s progression. They struck a transfer agreement with Arsenal in February, one that kept Turner in MLS through late June, and now it’s go-time.
“You know, I’ve said this a lot of times: Matt’s a very good goalkeeper and an even better person, so how he shows up every day is a real positive,” Arena said. “He trains hard, he’s a good teammate, good person. We’ll miss that. He is a good story.
“It’ll be interesting to see how he does at the next level. Not only national team, but obviously, in the Premiership. It’ll be the next challenge in his life, and he’s not backed away from any challenges to date so it’ll be interesting to see how he does.”