U.S. soccer goalie tries a different kind of pitch -- and crushes it

June 28th, 2023

It takes a lot to wow Nolan Arenado -- and for good reason. As a 10-time Gold Glove winner and seven-time All-Star, Arenado's seen just about everything there is to see on a baseball diamond.

Well, almost everything.

On Tuesday, the Cardinals split a batting-practice session with U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Matt Turner, who rendered Arenado speechless with a series of moon-scraping home runs at Busch Stadium.

After the two shared a quick introduction, Turner stepped into the cage, remarking that he wasn’t sure he was going to hit any balls out because the wind was blowing in. Turns out those worries were all for naught, as the lefty-swinging Turner pulled a ball into the right-field bullpen on his first swing. That kicked off an electric batting-practice session that featured Turner smashing ball after ball over the outfield fence, with Arenado watching on from the side like a proud father as Turner beamed after each home run.

“Get me in the Derby,” he remarked after the second one.

By the time the session was over, even Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol had stepped up to watch Turner swing. Arenado could do nothing but give Turner props. 

“That’s the best celebrity swinging I’ve ever seen,” Arenado said with a laugh as the two shared an embrace. 

After the session, Turner, who grew up as a Yankees fan, sat down with MLB Network’s Jon Morosi about how his baseball background has helped him on the pitch.

“[Baseball helped me] with some of the nitty gritty technical pieces like my footwork,” Turner said. “It helped raise my ceiling because I was able to create my own style using things from all the other sports.”

“I wouldn’t change anything about my multi-sport background.”

While Turner is a professional soccer player, he told Morosi that he enjoyed baseball more as a kid, and even went as far as to give his scouting report from when he played as a kid.

“Utility player,” he said with a laugh. "Could go anywhere in the field that you needed. Real coach’s treat, but a big-hit left-handed hitter.”

Turner will look to carry those good vibes over onto the pitch Wednesday night, when the U.S. takes on Saint Kitts and Nevis at CITYPARK in St. Louis as a part of the Gold Cup.