Growing up in Federal Way, Lamar Neagle was a sports junkie. He regularly attended Seattle Supersonics basketball games and Sounders soccer matches and any chance he got to see one of the players on the teams in the community, he leapt at the opportunity.
Now 26 and a Sounders FC player himself, he knows firsthand the impact that professional athletes can have on their communities. That is why he is so fervent about working with the Federal Way and Renton Boys and Girls Clubs and America SCORES Seattle and recently launched his own Neagle Foundation, with the mission to provide support to youth through athletics and academics while building stronger families and communities throughout the Seattle area.
For those efforts, Neagle was named MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Month for August, becoming the eighth Sounders FC player to earn the honor since joining the league in 2009.
“I always remember those times when I was a ball boy for the Sounders and you’re running up with all of your teammates and getting autographs from the guys,” Neagle said. “If I can do the same thing for a kid, why not?”
This season has been an active one for Neagle. In a preseason trade with the Montreal Impact, Neagle rejoined Sounders FC for his third stint with his hometown club. Already active in the community in his previous spell with the club in 2011, he quickly got involved in as many community activities as were available. With his ties to the South Sound, that has expanded the reach of Sounders FC’s charitable pursuits.
That has included work at Joint Base Lewis McChord, as well as several appearances in South King County and Pierce County, highlighted by an appearance at Sounders FC Night at Cheney Stadium, where he helped to raise $5,000 for the Sounders FC charitable partners through a jersey auction.
“It’s cool being one of the guys from the south side that can represent the team down there. I love it,” he said. “You see the support in the community and it’s great.”
He has also participated in the United Way of King County All-Star Softball Classic for homeless youth and the Sounders FC International Family Festival.
The work in the community – his community – has helped in him on the field too, noting that his success on and off the field have seem to come hand-in-hand this year. He has matched his career-high with five goals and set a new career-best with three assists through the first 21 matches of the season.
“Whenever you’re having a good time and life is good, that can translate,” he said. “Whenever you have a bigger platform – playing more and scoring a few goals – people pay attention a little bit more. People want to help me help out the community. It’s easier to reach out.”
Neagle joins a group of Sounders FC honorees that includes Taylor Graham, Sanna Nyassi, James Riley, Fredy Montero, David Estrada, Roger Levesque and Servando Carrasco.