Three times Tyler Turner has been the only Connecticut resident named to one of the United States men’s soccer’s national team. The pride factor being the lone choice remains.
“It’s still kind of a big burden, a big responsibility,” Turner said. “Some of the kids on the teams (he has played on) didn’t even know where Connecticut was. … It’s good to have the support from back home.
Turner, 17, was recently named to the U.S. Soccer U-18 Boys National Team. He was one of 18 players selected. The team is currently in Limoges, France, playing in a tournament.
Turner, born in Milford, lived in New Haven as a youth before moving to Meriden. He was selected from a pool of 36 players after a week-long training camp in Carson, Calif., last month. The U-18 team is coached by Javier Perez.
Turner lives and trains and goes to school at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Scott Dean is the director of soccer at IMG.
“Tyler wants to play at the highest level you can play at,” Dean said. “It’s a credit to Tyler that he is currently one of the top players in the country (at his age group).”
Turner, who was a Register All-Area selection at Notre Dame-West Haven as a freshman in 2010, also played on both the U15 and U17 national teams.
The difference this time is now he will be playing on defense, the right back position specifically, rather than in the midfield.
“I played in the midfield (on the U15 team), moved to center back (on the U17 team), then went back into midfield (also on the U17 team),” Turner said. “They (the U18 team) will give me the freedom to go join the attack on offense.”
According to Dean, Turner is on course to graduate from IMG (high school) next spring. So what’s next for Turner? College soccer? Professional soccer? The 2016 Olympics? All are currently on the table, depending on how well Turner progresses.
“Some of those doors have already been opened,” Dean said. “If I’m forecasting what I see out there right now, Tyler has to be in that conversation (for the Olympics). And if he keeps working hard and progressing, the MLS is very attainable.”
Both Turner and Dean said there has been plenty of interest from Division I schools. But the three schools at the top of Turner’s list all reside in the Atlantic Coast Conference: North Carolina, Virginia and Wake Forest. He has yet to make any official visits.
The Old Saybrook boys soccer team pulled one of the surprises in the state tournament last year, coming from behind to stun top-seeded and fellow Shoreline Conference school Valley Regional in the Class S state quarterfinals.
The Rams lost in the next round to eventual state champion Bloomfield, but that set the stage for what has been a very good season thus far. Old Saybrook currently stands at 8-0-1.
“The kids have built off of that (last year’s run to the semifinals). They came in motivated and worked hard in the off-season,” Old Saybrook coach Samuel Barnes said. “They have their hearts set on doing the best that they can.”
Senior forward Danny Murphy leads the way for the Rams with 15 goals and seven assists. Barnes said he has received some interest from Division I schools. Forward Jeff Nagy (10 goals, nine assists) and midfielder Nate Corrado (seven assists) complement Murphy well in the Rams’ offense.
The one hiccup for Old Saybrook so far this season was a 1-1 overtime tie with winless Westbrook on Tuesday.
“We learned a very valuable lesson that the better team doesn’t always win,” said Barnes, now in his 19th season. “That game was partly my fault because I overlooked them.”
Barnes said he has had undefeated regular seasons before and reached the Class S final in 1998 at Old Saybrook. He also played there, part of back-to-back state championships in 1982-83, the last ones at the school.
The Shoreline Conference has been a different story. Barnes said the last league title came in the 1950s. Remember, Guilford and Hand used to be a part of the conference before moving to the Southern Connecticut Conference.
“We’ve had good teams in the past. We haven’t always been able to finish,” Barnes said.
It remains to be seen if that will change in 2013.
The Northwest Catholic girls soccer team had its 48-game unbeaten streak snapped with a 2-0 loss at Glastonbury (8-0-1) Friday. It was the first loss for Northwest Catholic since the 2010 Class M championship game.
Matthew Conyers of the Hartford Courant has a complete coverage of the game.