MAAC Soccer Alum Steps Foot on Soccer’s Biggest Stage


By Isaiah Rosario, Staff Writer

2022 is a blessing for soccer fans around the world as the 2022 World Cup is currently underway. While the group stages were certainly a time of despair and disappointment for some, the United States had something to be proud of as they advanced to the round of 16 and came second in their group. 

Not only does the United States Men’s National have something to be proud of, but so does the MAAC as the USMNT’s starting goalkeeper Matthew Turner is a MAAC alumnus. Turner grew up in Park Ridge, New Jersey and played high school soccer at Saint Joseph Regional High School.  

Things took a turn for the better as Turner committed to Fairfield University to play soccer for his collegiate career. According to the Fairfield Stags website, Turner played a total of 39 games with 37 starts and logged over 3,500 minutes for the Stags. 

In 2016, Turner signed a professional contract with the New England Revolution. Then in 2018, Turner earned the starting goalkeeper position. Turner made his MLS debut on March 3. 2018. 2020 was Turner’s stand-out season as he was named a finalist for the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award. Turner set a new club record for goals against per game only allowing 1.08 goals per game while recording 6 shutout games. 

Turner’s 2021 season was nothing short of spectacular either as he was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and earned the honor of 2021 MLS All-Star MVP as he made two penalty kicks against the Liga MX All-stars.  

Feb. 2021 was the next massive step for Turner’s career as it was announced that Turner and Arsenal agreed on a deal that would send him to London.  

Turner spoke to the New York Times about what this journey has done for him and what it could possibly do for other kids. 

“Looking at my story, I hope kids can see a pathway exists,” Turner said. “A guy from the New England Revolution, who two, three years ago people never would even believe was doing business with Arsenal, was starting the season with Arsenal.”

A month before, Turner made his international debut as he started for the United States in a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago. He also started all six games for the United States in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, recording five clean sheets. 

In Nov., Turner was selected to the USMNT to compete in the 2022 FIFA World Cup as team USA’s starting goalkeeper. 

Turner spoke with FOX Sports about his conversion from high school shortstop to playing in front of tens of thousands of people on the world’s biggest stage. 

“It’s crazy — bananas, even,” Turner said. “It’s a pretty wild story compared to the people I share a locker room with every day.” 

Manhattan College Men’s Soccer Coach Jorden Scott spoke to The Quadrangle about what it is like to have someone from the MAAC conference play on soccer’s biggest stage.

“It’s great for the MAAC,” Scott said. “When we’re recruiting players and people say ‘we want to go and play the ACC or we want to go play in the Big East’. You don’t need to. We’ve been saying that forever. If you’re given an opportunity and you’re willing to work hard and listen to the guidance you can do anything you want to do.”

Scott praised Turner for his skill and Fairfield head coach Carl Rees for this remarkable story. 

“It’s a testament to Fairfield to Carl Rees, the head coach there, who has been there for 27 years,” Scott said. “Matt is an unbelievable story of a boy who worked his way to the top. I said to someone the other day that I think it could become a Netflix documentary in the future because it’s such an amazing story of how never to give up on your dreams.”