BOSTON -- It was the end of an era at Gillette Stadium on Sunday evening, as goalkeeper Matt Turner spent his final night as a member of the New England Revolution.
Turner rapidly rose to prominence during his time with New England, and as a result, he's now off to join Arsenal in the Premier League. Though Turner did not play in the match -- the Revs went with Djordje Petrovic -- the night was a celebration of Turner's splendid career in New England.
Turner -- who will turn 28 years old later this week -- reflected on what touched him the most after the Revs' 2-1 victory.
"Walking over to the fans, the gift they gave me with the flag signed by all the supporters was just truly so special. Something I'll cherish for the rest of my life, for sure," he said. "The signs that kids were holding up, saying that they play goalkeeper because of me, it's just ... in a competitive market like New England where you have, the football team's great and super popular. Basketball team's great, popular. Same with baseball and hockey. For me to have an influence on a few of the youth is just truly spectacular. And I think that that's what really got me. Because I always looked up to people, and the fact that people look up to me is -- especially here -- it's amazing. It's amazing and I'm glad I could leave my mark in that sense."
Turner said he leaned on Bruce Arena and Kevin Hitchcock to help guide him through this emotional week, and that his wife being nine months pregnant in England right now has only elevated those emotional levels.
"Emotionally, I'm happy, because of the way everybody made me feel tonight. I'm sad because I'm gonna miss everybody as well," Turner said. "But there's just so many other ones in between that it's hard to really articulate."
A New Jersey native, Turner went undrafted in 2016 and signed with the Revs shortly thereafter. His play with the Revs helped him gain plenty of attention, leading to his earning a spot as the Team USA keeper, for whom he's posted four shutouts in World Cup qualifying matches, with a 12-2-2 record overall. He was the 2021 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year for his exceptional season, during which he also earned All-Star and Best XI honors.
That outstanding career was huge for the Revs, but it also led to the call from Arsenal to elevate Turner to an even larger stage in the soccer world. That may be a bittersweet ending for Turner in New England, but his final night in Foxboro left him feeling as good as possible.
"It was the perfect night in every sense of the word," he said.
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