TUKWILA, Wash. — For whatever reasons, Lamar Neagle never felt entirely comfortable while he was with the Montreal Impact last season.
The Seattle-area native had been traded from his hometown team to one in a foreign country where he didn’t speak the primary language, the team was struggling, the coach was fighting for his job and Neagle was not producing in his limited minutes.
At some point, he made a promise to himself.
“Being in Montreal there weren’t that many opportunities to give back to the community,” Neagle said. “I always said that if I got back to Seattle, I wouldn’t waste any time and get right on it.
"That’s one thing that I’ve done.”
Neagle, of course, was traded back to Seattle last winter. Since returning, he has stayed true to his promise.
His contributions to the community were never more apparent than in July when he helped raise more than $7,000 that was distributed among America Scores Seattle, Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue and King County, Special Olympics Washington, Washington Global Health Alliance and Washington Youth Soccer. For those activities, as well as several others, he has been named the MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Month.
The money Neagle helped raise was during minor-league baseball game. He threw out the first pitch and the players wore Seattle Sounders-themed jerseys that were later auctioned off. About 20 members of Neagle’s extended family were among those that attended the game. But unlike his previous two stints with the Sounders, it’s no longer just friends and family that recognize him at events like this.
“Whenever I have a bigger platform, playing more, scoring a few goals, people pay attention a little bit more and want to help me help out in the community,” Neagle said. “It’s easier to reach out. It’s always nice when you go places and little kids know what number you are or what your name is when you’re trying to give back. It’s worked out pretty well this year.”
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The good feelings appear to be translating to his on-field performances as well. Neagle has already tied a career high with five goals and has set a new career best with three assists while moving back and forth between forward and midfielder.
“Whenever you’re having a good time and life is good, that definitely translates,” he said. “When your life is in turmoil off the field, on the field it’s not going to be the best it can be.
“It’s something that I like doing. I come from a big family, so it’s already ingrained in me. Everything seems to be working out on and off the field right now.”