Friday, February 28, 2014

Day after: Turner staying grounded after first Pro contract with Orlando City Soccer

Courtesy of US Soccer
By Mike Gramajo

Not only did a successful stint with the U.S. National Team U-18 help defender Tyler Turner to his first professional contract with Orlando City SC, but a superb performance in preseason camp paved the way as well. 

“I really do think it (Disney Pro Soccer Classic) gave me a little bit of a boost,” Turner told the OSJ via phone interview. “It also gave me preparation so I’ll know what to work on. It gave me a preview of what next year will be.” 

Orlando City’s newest member joined the Lions on Thursday, signing a multi-year deal that includes a spot in Orlando’s MLS squad in 2015. 

Turner, who has been playing in the right-back position during the Lions’ Disney Classic preseason tournament, also said he looks to lean toward veteran defenders Rob Valentino and Luke Boden for advice, given they’re already adapted to head coach Adrian Heath’s system. 

Despite just being only 17-years-old, the IMG Academy product has received plenty of praise for his performances with the United States U17 and U18 national team in the past year. 

Although once 2015 rolls by, Turner will be one of the few teenagers in Major League Soccer, but acknowledges teenage stars such as Diego Fagundez, Juan Agudelo and Jozy Altidore as important figures who herald the way for players in his age group. 

“I think they’ve paved their way to their own road, and I look up to them. But I want to pave my own way and see where I can take myself,” added Turner. “I always tell my friends and family that the biggest thing I want to do if I sign a professional contract is to stay grounded and humble.” 

You can catch Turner play on Saturday, as Orlando City takes on the New York Red Bulls for third place in the Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. 

Below is a video of Turner scoring a goal for the U.S U-17 vs. Brazil: 

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