The start of his journey in the professional game, midfielder Cole Turner had a strong 2019 season that showed why he’s worth keeping an eye on. His drive, work ethic and the versatile aspects of his game helped him pick up playing time early and often as Bethlehem Steel FC underwent a lot of changes. With opportunities present and the door open to him, Turner stepped through with force and purpose.
The Churchville, Maryland native joined the Steel for the first time in 2019 preseason camp down in Clearwater, Fla. During the two-week trip, Turner trained with the Steel to get ready for the USL Championship regular season, but also picked up some game time in Philadelphia Union preseason match against New York Red Bulls. A holding midfielder by nature, Turner slotted in at center back for the side, playing the entire second half and sparking the Union’s game-winning attack. The then-17-year-old showed the versatility that would eventually lead to him playing regularly for Steel FC.
Turner’s debut came in the club’s season opener as a second-half substitute in the 2-0 shutout win at Birmingham Legion FC. That was just the start of a strong season for the midfielder, as he made 25 appearances, 22 starts and provided two assists. He continued to show versatility throughout the season, making most of his appearances as a defensive midfielder (14 appearances), but also spent a fair bit of time (nine appearances) on the backline. Turner signed his first professional contract with Bethlehem Steel FC on July 17, 2019 and inked a pre-contract with the Union that is set to take effect on January 1, 2020.
“He has a strong knowledge of the game and a sharp awareness — the type of player who always seems to be in the right position in central midfield. He is an exciting young prospect and we are looking forward to helping him grow as a professional,” Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner said about Turner when he signed for the Steel.
After his contract with the Union takes effect ahead of the 2020 MLS regular season, Turner will more than likely look to continue earning playing time with the Steel due to the depth and experience that the Union currently have in the midfield. His versatility to play different positions and mental fortitude should prove exciting to first team fans and Steel fans alike. 2019 was just another step in the journey for Turner and 2020 looks to be even more promising as he transitions into the Philadelphia Union’s first team environment.