BOSTON (CBS) — As a pro athlete, New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner is used to being in the spotlight. But with the coronavirus front and center, his focus has shifted to his older sister.
Turner’s 27-year-old sister, Michelle, is a frontline nurse in New York City — one of the regions hit hardest by the virus. She was an operating room nurse before the pandemic hit, but her OR was converted into an ICU to help the fight against COVID-19.
It hasn’t been easy for the Turner family, with Matt in Massachusetts, his sister in New York, and his parents and other older sister in New Jersey. But Turner said that Michelle is an absolute champion, and is keeping everyone in the family calm during an extremely hectic time.
“This is her call to duty right now,” Turner told WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche. “She’s had to take on the challenge of getting out of her normal routine. Having to do that problem solving has been an interesting challenge for her. But overall the hardest part is how hard it is in New York, how bad it is in north New Jersey where my parents and other sister are, and all of them not being able to see each other. And then me, having all this time being stuck up in Massachusetts not being able to see them.”
Turner needs to have a rock-solid, calm demeanor as the Revs netminde. He is now in awe of how his sister is handling this crisis.
“She hasn’t complained,” said Turner. “It’s not her normal days. She’s been working crazy hours being on the frontlines of this whole thing. As nervous and scared as I was for her, I’m also immensely proud. I’m just blown away.”
Matt said that he talks to Michelle every day. After years of having her support him through high school and college in his quest to make it to the pros, Matt is now standing and cheering for his sister — and enlisting Revolution fans to do the same.
“I keep telling her how well she’s been able to handle everything. The attitude she brings to the situation really calms my nerves,” he said. “The conversations are really one-sided, just me asking if she’s OK and if she needs to talk about anything. For me to have this platform and be able to talk about her, and her story and journey, she’s definitely felt the love and support from the community — especially the New England community.”
Turner said fans from around the region have reached out to his sister to pass along some kind words, which has changed her perspective of Boston and New England sports fans.
“She’s a New York sports fan, so all these people really are changing her mind on New England as a whole,” Turner joked.
Turner, 25, was entering his third season as New England’s starting netminder when MLS put the 2020 schedule on hold. In his 48 games for the Revs, he is 16-15-16 with 10 shutouts.