DC United's Lamar Neagle tackles his biggest challenges off the field

After joining D.C. United following the 2015 season, Lamar Neagle has quickly found a regular role as a starter on the right wing.

Away from the pitch, life keeps switching formations for him and wife Natalie Hanley.

First came the trade that sent Neagle away from the Sounders and forced the newly married couple to rent their newly built house and leave their hometown.

Then, after settling into a sensibly sized apartment for a childless couple in the Virginia suburb of Old Town Alexandria, Hanley learned she was pregnant.

“It’s been step after step after step,” said Neagle, who will probably be looking for a larger place in the offseason. “Once it slows down, I don’t know what we’re going to end up doing.”

It’s all good news, of course, especially compared to a medical scare Hanley endured roughly 18 months ago that had her hospitalized days before their wedding. And Neagle knows it is often even more difficult for other soccer players with families.

While Hanley stopped her search for work as an oncology nurse in D.C. – pregnant women are advised against administering chemotherapy – Neagle feels thankful his salary allows the couple to subsist on one income.

He remembers teammates from his 2010 season with the USL’s Charleston Battery who didn’t make enough to have that option. And, with just a hint of embarrassment, he recalls how he used to spend money in his early days with the Sounders.

“When it was just me, ... I’d go out with DeAndre [Yedlin] and Josh Ford and we’d just go buy clothes,” Neagle recalled. “I don’t know the last time that I bought clothes. It’s just little things that changes. Your mind switches to saving money and looking toward the future.”

Still, for a couple who met as platonic middle school friends, starting married life on the other side of the continent is not without its challenges.

“We were spoiled for so long being in Seattle,” Hanley says. “Our whole family was there and all of our friends. And so coming out here, just not knowing anyone [is tough]. And I’ve met some really nice people from the team, but it takes a while to build relationships.”

Things are coming together, though. The couple finally bought a new car this week, allowing Hanley the liberty to escape Old Town’s brick sidewalks for hiking trails outside the city.

Now in her second trimester, she also says her pregnancy has motivated more family members pay a visit.

“As soon as they found that out, everyone’s coming to visit us in the next, like, two months,” she said, laughing. “That worked really well. And it’s kind of a fun experience for us, while we still aren’t too tied down, to be able to move somewhere new.”

Ultimately, Neagle says, settling into a predictable routine just might not be their style.

“It’s not looking like it’s going to slow down any time soon,” he says. “But I think we enjoy it. We’re both really active people, and it kind of makes life exciting, you know?”