When Matt Turner helped lead the Jersey Express to an Eastern Conference title in the 2014 USL League 2 season, it wasn’t just the summer he spent honing his goalkeeping skills.
It proved a turning point in his path to start with the USA national team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“That summer of 2014, I [USL League Two] At the end of the summer, I coached Jeff Matteo, who played several seasons in the MLS, and Billy Gaudette, who also played in the MLS and was my goalkeeping coach,” Turner said during US Soccer’s 26 Stories series. . “After that summer, they both put their arms around me and said, ‘Hey, look, if you want to do this, I think you’re good enough to play professional football.'”
“It was the first time someone said that to me.”
Turner started playing football late after being inspired by watching the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He got a chance to play his college football at Springfield, but in his sophomore season, a devastating failure that landed him on ESPN’s Knots Top 10 list left him with a He considered whether he wanted to continue playing.
After making 11 appearances for the Express in the summer of 2014, recording 55 saves and four shutouts, his confidence skyrocketed. In another year in Jersey the following summer, he continued that improvement with three shutouts in 64 saves and 14 appearances.