Saturday was more than a soccer game for Matt Turner.
The Arsenal-bound goalkeeper made his first start of the 2022 MLS season and in typical fashion recorded a clean sheet. Turner looked like he hadn’t missed a game.
“I think he’s an experienced goalkeeper, he plays with a lot of confidence and he gives the guys in front of him a lot of confidence,” head coach Bruce Arena said. “And, you know, maybe one of those chances tonight, he had to make a decent save. I think it was in the first half, but for the most part he wasn’t tested a whole lot. But I think he gives the group confidence and it’s a good first game back because he hasn’t played, I believe, since January. We’ve been a little bit concerned about rushing him in too early and obviously he showed tonight that he’s pretty comfortable getting back in there.”
But Turner had missed a lot of time dealing with two separate foot injuries that kept him out of commission for multiple months. Just hearing Mike Riley announce his name in front of the fans had Turner feeling emotional.
“That moment, the moment when the announcer announces my name and the crowd gives me a huge cheer and a boost, I choked up to be honest,” he said.
Turner then talked about how difficult it was for him to be away from the game he loves.
“It’s been really hard for me to be away from the game, away from this team,” Turner said. “I love it here. I love playing here. I love playing soccer in general. Like, it’s just a huge piece of my happiness and who I feel like I am as a person, and so to be away from the fans, who I have developed such a close relationship with over the past few seasons. It was really hard to be away from the guys, not really feeling the emotions, all the things that they were going through week in, week out. That was really hard as well.”
Turner went as far as to say that he even felt like an outsider in the locker room because he was so removed from the team due to his injury.
“So, I kind of felt like an outsider in our own locker room, but getting back out there tonight, I think you saw the full-time whistle everybody sort of coming to me, welcoming me back and, you know, giving me hugs, and all that. It just it felt really, really good. It’s a nice start to a weekend, and I’m getting married tomorrow.”
Turner got married to his now wife Ashly Herron in an intimate ceremony in Boston.
Revolution fans were happy to have Turner back and now will look forward to getting to see him play before he heads off to England. Both Turner and the fans will be savoring every moment they get before his last game as a goalkeeper for the New England Revolution.