Jacole Turner, an 18 year-old goalkeeper from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, who played with the Sporting Kansas City academy, has signed with Atletico Madrid.
“I actually got a tryout with Real Madrid,” Turner said. “My dad (Johnel Turner) had a friend and my dad’s friend talked to him about having a tryout out there. It’s one of the best teams in the world. I was in Croatia (playing professionally) and I didn’t get signed for the next year, so I was just sitting there thinking ‘what am I going to do?’ I was like, ‘gosh, I don’t want to go back to America.’ So I was sitting there and my dad Skyped me and he was like ‘you have a tryout with Real Madrid tomorrow.’ I got to Madrid the next day and went to training. It was just crazy.
“Atlético came to me – actually while I was playing with a team (Madrid-based Rayo) for like two weeks – and offered me a contract. I signed and everything about five days ago. It’s not so much the team as it is the professional soccer part. It’s like crazy. I’m in Madrid playing professional soccer.”
The journey from Lee’s Summit to Madrid was a whirlwind for Turner, who less than six months ago was planning to attend Barton County Community College in Kansas to continue his soccer career. A multiple year all-conference, all-region and all-state performer for the Broncos, Turner was also a member of Sporting Kansas City’s junior developmental team, and was selected this past spring to attend the United States Under-18 men’s national team for a training camp in Carson, Calif.
Turner also trained with Sporting Kansas City’s senior team earlier this year and appeared in a Major League Soccer Reserve League match for the club in 2011.
“Everyone knows how difficult it is to play professionally in any sport,” (Turner’s high school coach Tim) Richardson said. “It’s hard for kids to make the pro level – MLS – here in the U.S. (It’s) much more difficult to be an American and make professional teams in Europe. I knew it was Jacole’s dream, as he frequently talked about it. I also saw how hard he worked to try to make it happen. So when he signed I was real proud of him. I knew he had the athletic talent to play at that level. For him, it was just a matter of working hard, developing the right mental approach and being presented with the right opportunity.”
Now that he has signed with Atlético – Turner will miss two games while back in the area – the Lee’s Summit North grad has been assigned to the club’s Second B Team. With three goalkeepers ahead of him on Atlético’s senior roster, the hard work that gave him the chance to play pro ball will again be on display.
It sounds like he’ll be playing with Atletico Madrid C (currently in the fourth tier) for the time being (which makes sense), but it’s obviously a great opportunity for an 18 year-old.