New England Revolution

Matt Turner shared some details about his impending move to Arsenal

Turner described the day he learned of his transfer, which was also a night when he started for the U.S. national team, as "a very sort of euphoric day for me in my life and my career."

Matt Turner
Matt Turner during the U.S. World Cup qualifying win over El Salvador on Jan. 27, 2022. AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Though he was dealing with frigid conditions and a potentially tricky CONCACAF opponent during the U.S. men’s World Cup qualifying match against Honduras in Minnesota on Feb. 3, Matt Turner had already experienced a range of emotions throughout that day.

Turner, who had only made his national team debut a year before, was not only the starting goalkeeper in a U.S. qualifier, but had learned earlier in the day that his career dream of a transfer to a European club was actually happening.

The player who once went undrafted in Major League Soccer was now officially heading to Arsenal in the summer. That, coupled with the U.S. team’s 3-0 win to push World Cup qualification one step closer, made for a memorable occasion.

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“It was emotional, it was up and down,” Turner said of his experience waiting for details about if his Arsenal transfer would happen. “Sometimes it was more dead than ever, sometimes it was more alive than ever, but that’s the first time I’ve ever been through something like that, so to have it all come through and then come out and put in a good performance and get three points for the national team, it was a very sort of euphoric day for me in my life and my career.”

The 27-year-old is the defending MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, having helped the Revolution to a league-record 73 points in the regular season (and winning the Supporters’ Shield for the first time in club history).

Now, he has the possibility of competing for the starting job of a storied English club in his future.

Having experienced a meteoric rise in the last few seasons, Turner — speaking to reporters on Thursday — said he looks at his move to Arsenal as yet another opportunity to prove himself, even if he has to start at the bottom once again.

“When I first started, was trying to become a professional soccer player, most teams said no,” he explained. “I came in, I was a [third on the depth chart], I was [second string]. When I got my first chance with the national team it was only as a number three. No one ever really took me seriously, so I’m not going over there just to collect a check and ride off into the sunset.

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“I’m going to push myself, I’m going to push Aaron [Ramsdale] and continue to help him get better and help myself get better, and obviously I’m going to try to challenge to games.”

But before he officially leaves New England for London in the summer, Turner still has aspirations for his remaining time with the Revolution.

“My goal when I got here was to leave New England, leave the organization, a better place than it was when I first got here, and I think we’re well on the way to those things,” said Turner. “My early goals are to progress as far as we can in Champions League, good performances, and then start the season strong like we did last year. It sort of sets the tone for the rest of the season.”

New England’s initially scheduled CONCACAF Champions League matchup against Cavaly AS was canceled earlier this week due to the Haitian side being unable to secure visas to the U.S. As a result, New England automatically advanced to the quarterfinals.

The Revolution also begin the 2022 MLS regular season on Feb. 26 in Portland against the Timbers.

Turner will be able to help New England in the initial part of the season before handing things off to a replacement. One of the names listed as his possible successor is Jacob Jackson, the Revolution’s first-round pick in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft.

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“He’s a great kid, he’s eager to learn, and reminds me a lot of myself, actually, when I first got into MLS,” Turner said of Jackson. “It was somebody who needs the work, but he has the things that you can’t really teach. I don’t want to hype him up too much in an interview if he sees this, because I know every day in training I’m going to be pretty hard on him.”

As for his own future in MLS, the door might not be closed on his time in the league. Though he expects to play in Europe for the foreseeable future once he leaves in the summer, Turner noted that this might not be his final appearance in the U.S. domestic league.

“It’s not really like a farewell tour,” Turner said of his final games prior to heading for Arsenal, “it’s probably more like a see you in 10 years.”

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