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Born in 74 Sounders Legend: Lamar Neagle turns dreams into reality playing for hometown club

Lamar Neagle 6.21

The Seattle Sounders will honor former player Lamar Neagle prior to Saturday night’s home match against FC Dallas (7:30 p.m. PT; Watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 93.3 KJR FM, El Rey 1360AM | TICKETS) as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration.

As someone who was once a ball boy for the Sounders, having the opportunity to make it in the professional game and compete with his hometown club was a dream come true for Neagle.

“I’m happy to [have been] a part of the team for seven years,” he said.

A local product, Neagle found himself in preseason training with the Seattle side during the 2009 MLS inaugural year even prior to him graduating college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“The experience to play for your hometown, to play for the team that you were a ball boy for, for that timing to happen, you're getting out of college in 2009 during the inaugural year of the MLS era, that is something that's surreal,” said Neagle.

While he only competed in two friendlies against Chelsea and Barcelona that first year with the club, Neagle went on to be one of the more influential players who helped establish the dominance that the Sounders carry in Major League Soccer today.

The Tacoma native spent the majority of his career at the Seattle Sounders, partaking in four different stints with the team over the course of 11 years. His longest spell with the club took place from 2013-2015 where he helped lead the team to its first and only Supporters Shield in 2014. He finished his career with 42 goals across all MLS competitions with 29 of them being with the Sounders. He also tallied 17 of his 25 total assists with the Rave Green.

Neagle spent time with several other clubs including D.C. United, Montreal Impact, USL Championship side Charleston Battery and Finnish football club Mariehamn. But, nothing ever compared to playing at home, in the Pacific Northwest, in front of friends and family.

“It was always about coming home and playing in this soccer community that I grew up in,” said Neagle. “So, I was just grateful to be able to do it for so long.”

So much so, he finished out his career with the Sounders and remained in the area after retirement, where he planted roots with a family of his own.

“For professional athletes, it probably makes sense if you like the place, to stay in the place that you had the most impact and the longest stint of your career because that's where a lot of opportunities will come from,” said Neagle. “So, I'm happy that that happened at home, because I'm able to be around my family, my wife is from Federal Way so all of her family's here and we have three kids now, so it makes sense for us to obviously be here.”

The midfielder began his post-playing career removed from the soccer scene, but with his connection to the Sounders and his love for the game, he knew he couldn’t stay away for long.

Neagle’s continued relationship with the organization has led him to support the broadcast for Sounders matches while also serving as a board member of the RAVE Foundation.

Score with Pride

Score with Pride

For each Sounders FC goal, Starbucks will donate $500 to RAVE Foundation to support its work as an ally and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.

“I always knew that soccer would play some role in my life, and the community would play some role in my life, which is why I got on the board of RAVE to stay involved,” said Neagle. “And then broadcasting, I'm [also] still in the community, I'm able to talk about soccer on air with old teammates and watch and support the Sounders and give my opinion… It's been awesome.”

His passion for the sport and desire to give back to the soccer community has gone beyond supporting the Sounders side as well. In 2021, Neagle helped co-found USL 2 team, Ballard FC. Since then, the growth of soccer in the area has heightened immensely.

“For not even being in the league three years, but to come in now and have the success that we've had with the fan base and creating the community that we did, and then obviously, getting the national title in our second year, has been more than we could have put on our list of things to accomplish in the first two years,” said Neagle.

Whether it be his acts of service at the club, outside of the club, or his past efforts on the pitch as a former player, Neagle epitomizes what it means to be a Sounder. And he hopes the next generation of players can follow suit.

“The [50th Anniversary match] probably really showed current players just the depth of the legacy [at the club] and I hope that they can do their best to be good stewards of that,” said Neagle. “There are not many teams with 50 years of experience in a place and so I hope that they recognize that and just continue on.”

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