ORLANDO, Fla. — It wasn’t long after Lamar Neagle informed his mother of the trade that was sending him from Seattle to Montreal that she broke down in tears.
It was tough to swallow that her son was leaving his home in Federal Way, Wash., to head to another country. But Neagle is philosophical about the move a few days removed.
“In the long run, this is better for my career,” Neagle told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday from the Impact’s team hotel. “The more minutes I get on the field, the better I’m going to be and the more money I can eventually make.”
The 24-year-old thought he was set for a long stay in Seattle when the Sounders protected him in last November’s Expansion Draft.
But then came the call from manager Sigi Schmid on Friday before dinner. Neagle saw teammate Mike Fucito heading in the same direction and figured it was a meeting with young players. And then the news came down that Fucito and Neagle would be joining MLS’ 2012 expansion team in exchange for ex-US international forward Eddie Johnson.
“[The Sounders management] were like, 'It is what it is; it’s part of the business,'” Neagle said. “You know going in to it this may happen, especially two guys coming off the bench. If anybody’s going to get traded, we’re the ones. It was always kind of there and you don’t think about it until it happens.”
Thursday marked Neagle’s second practice session with his new club. Judging by the energy in his voice, he’s eager for the challenge that lies ahead on a Montreal team that had been eyeing the winger since his days with the Charleston Battery in 2010.
Neagle will hope to make his Montreal debut on Friday night on the opening night doubleheader of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (live stream on MLSsoccer.com beginning at 6 pm ET).
“I’m definitely excited to get some playing time with the [Impact],” Neagle said. “It was difficult to get playing time over in Seattle with all the midfielders they have.
“So coming into this situation where everybody is kind of new, it’s a little bit easier to maybe get a spot whereas the coaches at Seattle had their minds already set on who they wanted," he added. "Here they’re not as set. I’m sure they have an idea, but I’m definitely going to try to get some minutes.”