Second time could be the charm for Sounders’ Lamar Neagle
By BILL SWARTZ
KIRO/710 ESPN Sports Anchor
Maybe the second time’s the charm for Tacoma native Lamar Neagle. A whirlwind 2010 has brought him back to Seattle Sounders FC in 2011.
Neagle is a product of Pierce County junior soccer and Jefferson High school in Federal Way. A Sounders fan? Absolutely, says the 23-year-old Neagle.
“When I was young I was a Sounders ball boy,” he said. “Growing up and seeing the guys, I definitely wanted to play for them. So it’s great.”
Lamar was with Seattle in 2009 and until mid-March 2010, when he learned he would not be part of the final roster. He was obviously crushed, but decided to do something about his soccer weaknesses. Neagle went to South Carolina to play for the Charleston Battery of the USL. That’s a drop in two levels just to continue a passion for playing soccer.
Then opportunity knocked in Finland, of all places. A USL friend was playing for a club called IFK Mariehamn. They wanted more American players.
“I had my Irish passport,” says Neagle. “I always wanted to go overseas. It was only two and a half months, so it was a good experience.”
What Neagle brought back to the United States was confidence. He also took Sounders coach Sigi Schmid’s advice and became more of an offensive threat.
“Going away”, says Neagle, “I kind of found out where I need to be on the field as a player. Hopefully I can make an impact by scoring some goals and getting some assists.”
Neagle, who was re-signed by the Sounders earlier this month, might get more chances to play for Seattle this summer. The Sounders are back in the U.S. Open Cup, and CONCACAF Champions League tournament. That’s on top of 34 MLS matches.
For a guy who grew up in the Puget Sound area, taking on Portland and Vancouver is very enticing to Neagle.
“I would definitely like to get in there with the fans going crazy,” he says. “That would be cool to score a couple goals.”