Turner is set to officially join the Gunners this summer, meaning he’ll play around 20 games with the Revs before his departure. Once he arrives in London, he’ll face a steep climb to unseat incumbent goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
Speaking to reporters via Zoom on MLS Media Day, Turner mentioned that U.S. manager Gregg Berhalter was a “big supporter” of his move to Arsenal, and he remains confident that he’ll maintain his place in the U.S. side, where he is battling Manchester City keeper Zack Steffen for the starting spot.
“At the end of the day, it’s going to be how I continue to progress,” he said. “[I’ll] play in almost 20 games in the early parts of the season, and then get the move overseas and get to work in understanding a new culture, a new way of life, a different league, quality players from top to bottom that will really help me.”
Turner added that he stands to benefit from Arsenal’s style of play, which he feels is similar to what Berhalter is trying to implement with the national team.
“It’ll be more exposure to that type of play, and I think it’s going to help me in the long run,” he said. “But yeah, I think I’m in a pretty good spot, and I really liked how everything’s progressing.”
It won’t be the first time that Turner will be in the position of needing to prove himself and climb the goalkeeper depth chart. After playing collegiately at Fairfield University, Turner went undrafted by MLS, and signed as a free agent with the Revs following a successful trial.
Following a pair of loan stints with second-tier side the Richmond Kickers, he took over the starting spot with the Revs in 2018 and has been a mainstay ever since, culminating in his being named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2021.
“When I first started, it was trying to become a professional soccer player,” he said. “Most teams said no. I came in and I was a No. 3, I was a two. When I got my first chance with the national team it was only as the 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. I’m going to push myself and [Ramsdale] and continue to help him get better and help myself get better.”
Turner said he had “heard rumblings” of overseas interest over the past few months, but it seemed like a longshot. There was considerable back and forth once Arsenal put in an offer. The move crystallized on the same day the U.S. played El Salvador in a World Cup qualifier on Jan. 27.
“Sometimes it was more dead than ever,” he said of the move. “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 then 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 in my life and my career.”
Turner insisted he won’t be taking it easy during the first half of the season with the Revs, especially with the U.S. still trying to clinch qualification to the World Cup.
“It’s not really like a farewell tour,” he said. “It’s probably more of like a ‘See you in 10 years hopefully’ tour where I can come back and sort of remember the memories and the way this league is growing so fast.”
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