By Randy Vogt, Director of Public Relations, Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association
December 1, 2021-Although US Men’s National Team keeper Matt Turner grew up in Park Ridge, New Jersey, he crossed the state line to play club soccer in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA). Matt excelled in other sports, especially baseball, and only started playing soccer in his mid-teens.
As a 16-year-old just over a decade ago, he tried out for and made the Clarkstown 1994 team coached by Dimitri Giatrakis that played in the Eastern New York Premier League. He played for Clarkstown for the next two years.
“Matt came and tried out, the ability was there and we just had to develop it,” Coach Giatrakis stated. “What I really like about Matt is he was a clutch player and we had him in goal with the game on the line but he was always okay with me giving lots of playing time to other keepers so they could be seen by college coaches in showcase tournaments.”
The Clarkstown 1994 team. Coach Dimitri Giatrakis is standing on far left and Matt Turner is in the yellow jersey. Photo courtesy of Dimitri Giatrakis.
Coach Giatrakis, a longtime coach in Eastern New York ODP North now coaching the goalkeepers, continued, “His parents came to all his games but they never complained about anything. Matt was always a good guy from a young age who I could play on the field too when we had only 11 or 12 players show up and one of them was another keeper.”
From Clarkstown youth soccer, Matt went on to play in goal for Fairfield University, then on to the New England Revolution even though he was not drafted. He led the Revs to the 2021 Supporters' Shield for the best record in the league while being honored as the 2021 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.
Coach Giatrakis concluded, “I’m so, so proud of Matt and we’re still in touch.”
With approximately 100,000 youth soccer players––both boys and girls––and more than 25,000 volunteers, the non-profit Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) stretches from Montauk Point, Long Island to the Canadian border. Members are affiliated with nine leagues throughout the association, which covers the entire state of New York east of Route 81. ENYYSA exists to promote and enhance the game of soccer for children and teenagers between the ages of 5 and 19 years old, and to encourage the healthy development of youth players, coaches, referees and administrators. All levels of soccer are offered––from intramural, travel team and premier players as well as Children With Special Needs. No child who wants to play soccer is turned away. ENYYSA is a proud member of the United States Soccer Federation and United States Youth Soccer. For more information, please log on to http://www.enysoccer.com/