The annual FIFA ratings always prompt a few debates, and things were no different Wednesday when the 2021 edition was revealed.
Among them was the top 10 goalkeepers, with New England Revolution starter Matt Turner notably absent. The top spot went to LAFC’s Kenneth Vermeer at 76 overall, and natural thoughts went to where the 26-year-old was.
But, during a video conference call Wednesday, Turner said he doesn’t pay particular attention to FIFA ratings and hopes people aren’t judging him solely off a video-game number.
“Actually it’s funny, I probably haven’t played a game of FIFA since I became a professional soccer player,” Turner said. “I do enough soccer here and [when] watching games, so I didn’t see it. I don’t really know the ratings, I don’t know what it all really means. But at the end of the day you go out there, you play as hard as you can and you hope that the results speak for themselves. If people are going to look at a video game rating to judge a player, I think they got it all wrong.”
Turner has been called into several US men’s national team camps under head coach Gregg Berhalter, though his international debut awaits. He also placed fifth on the 2019 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year voting, and continues to make game-changing saves for the Revs as they chase one of the 10 Eastern Conference spots in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
Only in his third year as a consistent MLS contributor, Turner initially rose to prominence when being named New England’s surprise starter in 2018 under ex-head coach Brad Friedel. Friedel, a U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame member at goalkeeper, clearly saw something and those very qualities continue to impress current head coach/sporting director Bruce Arena.
“I would argue he’s among the top goalkeepers in the league, but he still has a way to go as a ‘keeper,” Arena said. “He’s played now probably to date 55, 60 games, so every game he plays I think he gets better, every season he’s going to get better. He continues to be a very good shot blocker, he’s improving in his communication with players around him and his kicking game is getting better. So we think he’s going to continue to grow and he clearly has the potential to be among the top goalkeepers in the league, for sure, if he’s not one of them already.”
Matt Turner joins The Call-Up
While perhaps snubbed on the virtual pitch. Turner’s focused on doing everything he can to turn heads in real-time. He has 13 shutouts through 57 games of his young MLS career, and hopes to improve on that moving forward.
He has also generated some overseas buzz after gaining a Lithuanian passport, but he’s made clear his mind is not focused on that European speculation, at least in the immediate future. Instead, it’s rising the MLS ladder and continuing to draw Gregg Berhalter’s attention that occupies his mind.
"We’re not where we want to be in the standings, to get in that top six and not play a play-in game in the playoffs would be huge for us,” Turner said. “Overall, I’m going to go out there every single week, I’m going to play as hard as I can and I hope that the fans and media, they see that and then obviously hope Gregg sees it at the national team as well."