Federal Way native and former Seattle Sounders FC player Lamar Neagle has decided to give back to the community he grew up in.
Neagle, 31, recently joined the Federal Way Football Club coaching staff for the 2019-2020 season.
“The first club I contacted when I thought of coaching was Federal Way,” he said. “And soccer is what I know, it’s what I’ve been doing from the beginning so it kind of makes sense to follow that passion.”
After a 10-year professional career playing around the world, Neagle said he’s excited to coach the sport he loves and give back to the city he calls home.
“Obviously the game has given a lot to me over this ten year professional career, but even before that, it’s what all my friends and I did when we were younger,” Neagle said. “That joy we had, you know. We played at recess, came home and we played, we had practice a few days a week …”
Neagle attended Thomas Jefferson High School and helped the Raiders boys soccer team win a state championship in 2005.
He then went on to play for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Neagle was a leading scorer all four years, also playing — and starting — every collegiate game except for one, he said.
After a stint of preseason training with the Seattle Sounders FC, Neagle signed his first professional MLS contract with the Sounders after graduation in 2009.
His journey as a professional soccer player has taken him around the world playing for teams in Finland and Montreal, and across the nation playing with Charleston Battery and D.C. United. But Neagle always found his way back home to the Sounders.
“It’s not common at all for you to go from one team and then back to the same team, and to do it four different times is pretty unheard of,” he said with a laugh about his multiple return to the Sounders. “I’ve had an interesting journey but definitely one I’ve enjoyed along the way.”
Growing up, Neagle learned how to presevere through family or personal hardships and how to maintain motiviation after being cut from select soccer teams time and time again.
“I know what it’s like to face adversity … I know the struggle that some of these Federal Way kids are going through,” he said, adding he’s excited to provide quality training sessions to young kids who may have never had this type of opportunity before.
Neagle said he was fortunate to have caring, talented coaches growing up such as Wade Webber, Darren Sawatzky and Ralph Black, among many others.
“To do that exact same thing they did for me, for our Federal Way community … it seems really fitting,” Neagle said.
Taking on his new role as a coach for the football club will allow him to explore his personal coaching style and mentor kids how to play by instinct on the field, he said.
Early on in his soccer career, Neagle adopted a determined mindset: “If I wasn’t the best player out there, I was going to be the hardest working player out there.”
Fawi Belal, director of coaching at Federal Way Football Club, said the club looks forward to having Neagle join their club and work with their players.
“He brings a wealth of knowledge with his MLS experience and he will be a great role model for our players,” Belal noted. “We are delighted to have him share his passion to further advance our Federal Way soccer community.”
Neagle currently plays for the Tacoma Stars – his first venture playing indoor soccer.