Meet Matt Turner, USMNT's No. 1 Goalkeeper at 2022 World Cup




 

Meet Matt Turner, USMNT's No. 1 Goalkeeper at 2022 World Cup originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Matt Turner is turning heads in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Through two games - and two draws - Turner has just conceded one goal against Wales and England: a penalty kick to Gareth Bale.

After manager Gregg Berhalter announced his 26-man squad on Nov. 9 and didn't include Zack Steffen, once his primary first-choice option, the attention shifted to Turner, who headlined the goalkeeper section that also contained Sean Johnson (NYCFC) and Ethan Horvath (Luton Town).

Turner, once the Major League Soccer Goalkeeper of the Year at New England Revolution and now in the English Premier League, is quickly becoming a hero for the USMNT thanks to his commanding performances in Qatar.

Here's what to know about Turner:

Where is Matt Turner from?

Turner was born in Park Ridge, N.J.

How old is Matt Turner?

Turner is currently 28 years old. He was born on June 24, 1994.

Where did Matt Turner go to college?

Turner was a Fairfield Stag from 2012-2015. The school is based in Connecticut and competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) of the NCAA Division I.

When did Matt Turner join the New England Revolution?

Turner played for the Jersey Express of the Premier Development League in 2014-2015, helping the team to the national semifinals in 2014. He entered the 2016 MLS Superdraft but did not hear his name called.

However, after a successful preseason trial with the Revolution, he signed his first professional contract and eventually won the starting job in 2018. He stayed with the team until this past summer after agreeing to a move to the English Premier League in the 2022 January transfer window.

In the 2021 campaign, Turner was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, the first ever Revolution player to earn the award.

Who does Matt Turner play for?

Turner now plays for EPL side Arsenal, currently the league leaders during the World Cup break. Though Turner has not made any league appearances with the Gunners, the 6-foot-3 goalie has played in four UEFA Europa League group stage matches where he's conceded just once - a penalty in his debut on the road against FC Zurich.

He has yet to concede a goal from open play this season at the club level.

What are Matt Turner's strengths?

There are usually three types of goalkeepers: line keepers (excels at stopping shots), ball-playing keepers (excels in distribution, build-up play from the back) and sweeper keepers (excels at coming up the pitch and acting as the 11th outfielder).

Turner is the former one, as his shot-stopping is actually the best out of 53 goalkeepers in Qatar based on data compiled from the previous four years.

It's a key reason as to why Mikel Arteta and Arsenal signed him this season to be a backup to their No. 1 choice and England international, Aaron Ramsdale. With Ramsdale excelling as a ball-playing keeper in Arsenal's system, Turner is also gradually adding that to his game, as he showcased against England on multiple occasions.

Goalkeepers tend to hit their peak in their early-to-mid 30s, and as Turner's rapid development has shown, he can still get better.

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