Last interview with Lamar Neagle as a Sounder

18 02 2012

Who’s to say if he’ll ever come back, but the trade of local guy Lamar Neagle to the Montreal Impact Friday signaled the end of his time with Seattle Sounders FC. At least for the foreseeable future.

On the one hand, I’m happy for Neagle. Awesome guy. Worked extremely hard to become an impact (pardon the play on words) player for the Sounders last year. Had a paid internship in the real world WHILE a developmental player for the Sounders in 2009. Deserving of all success that comes his way.

On the other hand, my gut feeling tells me Seattle paid too high a price for forward Eddie Johnson’s rights. Giving up two talents with the potential of Neagle and Mike Fucito couldn’t have been easy. They both have a lot of upside, while Johnson will have to prove himself worthy of the fans’ loyalty.

I got a chance to catch up with Neagle a couple of weeks ago when the Sounders were in Arizona for training. Here’s highlights of our mostly light-hearted conversation:

On why he kept No. 27 and didn’t take a different jersey number:

“That first year, they (family members) bought jerseys. I was going to change it, yeah. I ordered like 60 or something like that jerseys.”

Photo courtesy of Rick Morrison

On from where he was as a developmental to where he is now:

“It’s been pretty crazy the last couple of years. Been away, came back and actually started playing. Couldn’t ask for more really.”

What precipitated all of that?

“Just getting comfortable. Just realizing I could play. I think going down to Charleston was good for me because when I first came here, the pace was too fast… once I went to Charleston and had success there, it was kind of a step in between. It made it a lot easier. It built my confidence and made me more comfortable on the field. Coming in and knowing all the guys already makes it a lot easier as well.”

Those internship days are far gone now, aren’t they?

“Yeah, kinda crazy. Kind of nice.”

Not many guys get to play where they come from.

“Yeah, especially. I mean, I’m probably the luckiest guy in the MLS to be playing for one of the best teams in the MLS, fan base and everything, and I’m at home. I moved back in with my dad so I can look for a house of my own. Tough to pay rent while I’m in Arizona and Florida.”

How much fun was last year?

“It was great. I was actually thinking the other day, this is going to be kind of hard to top. Going in and not even knowing if I was going to make the team at the beginning of the year  to playing in the last game, scoring a goal in the last game. Playing in big games is huge.”

On James Riley being a friend and mentor:

“He’s a good pro. You could just tell on the field, very technical guy, always doing what’s right for his body, and after practices always one of the last guys out there. So definitely one of the good guys to kind of emulate. And Zach Scott… kind of watching those two guys has been a big difference for me.”

Thinking beyond this year?

“That was the main thinking coming out of college. I got my Irish passport so it’s a lot easier for me if (Europe) does happen.”

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