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Jefferson grad Neagle signs with Sounders FC — again
Lamar Neagle is officially a Seattle Sounder — again.
The Thomas Jefferson grad inked with Sounders FC Tuesday, the Major League Soccer club announced. Per MLS and club policy, terms were not disclosed on Neagle's contract.
The forward won a state title in his senior season at TJ in 2005 before moving on to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where he was a three-time Mountain Pacific Sports Federation first-team selection.
"This is where I want to be," Neagle told SoundersFC.com. "From the start, I knew I needed more games to get better, and now I'm ready to make a difference. The biggest difference is my confidence and feeling comfortable on the field, and confidence comes from playing games and playing well."
This is Neagle's second stint with the Sounders. He signed on June 10, 2009, but was limited to action in friendlies against international powers Chelsea and Barcelona. He was waived after the season and spent the 2010 preseason in training with Seattle as an invitee.
"We welcome back Lamar," said head coach Sigi Schmid on the Sounders' Web site. "The year away was very beneficial to him. He's a versatile player who can play up front as well as wide midfield."
The 23-year-old Neagle had successful stints with club teams in the United States and abroad during his year away from the Sounders FC in 2010. He scored 12 goals in 19 regular season matches for the Charleston (SC) Battery to earn Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player honors in USL-2, the third tier of professional soccer in America. The Battery went on to win the 2010 USL-2 championship.
“I was always trying to make sure I didn’t mess up and I was content just being at home, but in the last year I’ve grown a lot,” Neagle said. “Getting released made me hungrier. It was probably a good thing because I might have stayed content where I was. I think right from the first game in Charleston, I felt like I had something to prove. I had the mentality going in that they couldn’t keep up with me. I had to go work harder than everyone and that’s a mentality that I’m trying to bring back to Seattle.”
Following the season with Charleston, Neagle was signed by Finland's IFK Mariehamn, where he played in five league matches last fall, scoring two goals. He returns to Seattle as a free agent.
While a three-year starter at TJ, Neagle broke a 31-year-old school record by scoring six goals in one game and was named the Class 4A state player of the year in 2005. During his senior season, Neagle tallied 27 goals and 11 assists in just 19 matches. His final goal of the year came on a penalty kick that helped TJ to a 2-1 win over Pasco in the state title match. He played club soccer for the Norpoint Chivas in Northeast Tacoma.
Sounders FC opens the 2011 MLS season on Tuesday, March 15 by hosting the L.A. Galaxy on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.