LA JOLLA, Calif. — Jack Turner spends most of his time preventing others from scoring goals.
Now he has scored a goal of his own.
The UC San Diego men's water polo redshirt junior goalkeeper has been named to the Team USA roster for the upcoming FINA World Cup, set for Sept. 11-16 in Berlin, Germany. The event is an Olympic-qualifying tournament and will mark Turner's first international major championship cap.
Team USA opens play against Croatia on Sept. 11 before taking on Serbia and South Africa to conclude group play. All games will be streamed live on FINATV.LIVE and live stats will be available at LiveWaterPolo.com.
Turner previously earned a spot on the Team USA roster for a four-game exhibition series against Croatia in June 2017, and has been practicing with the team ever since. He was also one of two goalkeepers on the roster for the 2017 World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan, but was unable to play due to injury.
"It's a great honor to be able to compete with some of the best players in the world and be given the opportunity to represent our country in the sport I love," Turner said prior to Wednesday's practice at UC San Diego. "Ever since I started playing water polo, I wanted to compete at the highest level possible. I hope to do well in the tournament to solidify my spot on the team."
However, an accolade of this magnitude presents some challenges. Turner said there is even higher expectations from the Team USA coaching staff, and the competition he faces at every practice adds a little more pressure.
"It's tough," said Turner. "You have to be on top of your game at all times and train as hard as you can every day."
Due to his Team USA obligations, Turner will miss UC San Diego's upcoming games against No. 10 UC Irvine and No. 8 Pepperdine in this weekend's GCC vs. WWPA Clash. He'll also be unavailable for road contests at Cal Lutheran on Sept. 12 and at No. 7 UC Santa Barbara on Sept. 13. Fellow redshirt junior goalkeeper Sam Thompson will start in place of Turner.
Although he's ecstatic about his new opportunity, Turner said he will miss being around his teammates during this early portion of the season.
"Any time you miss games with these guys, it's going to be tough," he said. "I was out all last season, so being back for a couple games and then leaving is going to be hard.
"But after discussing it with our coaches and my teammates, we determined in the long run this is going to be huge for us. Being able to see faster and better shots is going to really benefit us down the line. Hopefully I can take the experience in Berlin, bring it back, and win another WWPA championship."
Head coach Denny Harper said there was no hesitation in allowing Turner to participate in the FINA World Cup and is proud he has made it to this stage.
"I think it's going to be an unbelievable experience for him," said Harper. "It's an amazing accomplishment. To be able to be chosen for something of this nature, it's unbelievable."
"We look forward to getting him back and him being even stronger in the cage than he already is."