Sounders continue to give back through individual player charities

Lamar Neagle and Steve Zakuani show their support for the community through their own charities.

Sounders FC players feel the support from the record-setting crowds every time they take the pitch at CenturyLink Field. Likewise when they go on the road and see large sections of traveling supporters offering their voices to support away from home. It is for that reason that many on the team give back to the community and two players, Steve Zakuani and Lamar Neagle, have taken that a step further, each starting his own foundation to give support to different programs in the community.

Last week was a banner week for the Neagle Foundation and Zakuani’s Kingdom Hope, as each raised thousands of dollars for their respective causes.

“In Seattle, they’ve embraced us really well and embraced me really well, so I want to give back to the local community,” Zakuani said.

From August 23-25, Starfire Sports in Tukwila hosted the 2013 Starfire XTREME Cup, with 162 teams playing in nine different age groups for boys and girls while also raising funds for Kingdom Hope. Three teams raised a combined $3,700 bringing the total figure to nearly $11,000, which was presented to Zakuani on Sunday after Sounders FC’s 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls.

“I wish when I was that age, I had something like that available,” said Zakuani, who participated in the event’s opening ceremonies this year after closing out the event in 2012. “The kids love soccer and I love it too, so if we can find a way to raise money for a good cause and give them a good service, I’ll do that all the time.”

For more information on Kingdom Hope, visit www.Kingdom-Hope.org.

Now two years in the making, The Neagle Foundation had its first fundraising event last week. Joined by several teammates, Neagle put on a FIFA 14 tournament just 24 hours after the latest installment in the EA Sports series was released, raising over $6,000 through donations and auctions.

“It’s kind of crazy to have something in your name – an organization where you’re giving back,” Neagle said. “It’s nice to have that first event under my belt and get some money to help the places that I kind of grew up in.”

The Neagle Foundation supports youth athletics and academics in the Seattle Area while trying to build stronger families and communities, focusing primarily on after-school programs.

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