17-year-old defender joins Lions as youngest member of the squad 

Orlando, Fla.- Orlando City SC announced on Thursday the signing of U.S. U18 Men’s National Team player Tyler Turner to a 2014 USL PRO contract and a 2015 Major League Soccer (MLS) contract, pending USSF approval. At only 17 years old, the defender joins the Lions from IMG Academy as the youngest member of the squad.

“We liked what we saw from him, not only when he was with the National Team, but also throughout the preseason with us,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “One of the things that we noticed straight away was how comfortable he is on the ball. For our defenders, that’s almost a required trait so we’re delighted to have him with us.”

Turner was brought into the Orlando City camp at the beginning of the 2014 preseason and impressed the coaching staff almost immediately.

The calm and composed right-back was given a tough test in the early stages of preseason in friendlies against Major League Soccer (MLS) sides Chicago Fire and Montreal Impact and capably handled the challenge.

Despite seeing limited time in both matches, Turner’s contributions on the pitch were noticeable and earned him the nod from Heath. In light of the Montreal and Chicago match, the 17-year-old went on to start in all three Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic games against MLS sides Philadelphia Union, Toronto F.C. and Columbus Crew alongside veterans Rob Valentino, Brad Rusin and Luke Boden.

“Considering the circumstances, I thought Tyler did very well against the MLS clubs,” added Heath on Turner’s performances thus far. “He can certainly make a living out of football, as long as he continues to do the right things and dedicate himself to the game.”

Raised in Meriden, Conn., Turner is ranked as the No. 2 defender in the nation for the class of 2014, according to TopDrawerSoccer.Com.

During his time in the U.S. Soccer Residency Program, the right-back helped guide the U17 Men’s National Team to a championship at the 2011 Nike Friendlies, scoring against Turkey and Brazil.

After a successful stint as the captain of the U17 Men’s National Team, Turner was recently called up to the U18 Men’s National Team.

Earlier this month, the Conn. native travelled overseas with the U18s for an international tournament and played against Spain, Argentina and the Canary Islands.

“We believe in his future as a footballer,” Heath continued. “Tyler signing a year before we enter MLS in 2015 will allow him to get acclimated to our system and get a grasp of what it takes to be a professional.”

Transaction: Orlando City SC Signs Defender Tyler Turner

Name: Tyler Turner

Position: Defender

Height: 5’10

Weight: 155 lbs.

 



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