Lamar Neagle made a quick impression, joining Seattle Sounders FC for training on Saturday and being signed to a contract on Wednesday.
“It’s good to sign a local product to our team,” coach Sigi Schmid said through a Sounders news release. “Lamar’s got excellent speed, and he’s a player who can play in a number of positions. He’s very comfortable on the flank and has played on the left side as well as the right. He will get a look from us as an outside player, either in midfield or at the back.”
Neagle was born in Tacoma, grew up in Federal Way and has played for Norpoint Chivas in Northeast Tacoma, Thomas Jefferson High School and UNLV.
He was a three-year starter at Jefferson and led the Raiders to a 16-2-4 record and the Class 4A state championship as a senior in 2005. He set a school record by scoring six goals in one game, and he was named to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer High School All-Star Team.
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At UNLV, he was a three-time selection to the All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation first team. Neagle led the Runnin’ Rebels in scoring as a junior and as a senior, scoring nine goals each season. Last season, he was named to the All-Far West Region second team.
He had a two-week preseason trial with the Sounders FC in Southern California, partially arranged by Darren Sawatzky, his former Jefferson coach who is now Sounders director of youth development.
Neagle played in two preseason games and assisted both goals in a 2-0 win over Shandong Luneng of China.
“That was a good game down there,” Neagle recalled this week. “And it was good getting to know the guys.”
However, when the Sounders returned to training in the Northwest, Neagle returned to school. He stayed there until finishing the on-campus portion of his college studies. Then he returned home and began training with the Sounders again over the weekend.
He arrived wishing to make the immediate jump to MLS, but he was uncertain about the Sounders’ plans or whether some time at a developmental level might be necessary.
“Obviously, it takes a little getting used to with the speed being different than in college,” he said Monday. “I don’t have an agent or anything, so it’s kind of weird for me being alone and not going through the draft or anything. Obviously, I hope to go straight into (MLS). I don’t expect to get playing time right away but hopefully work my way into it.”
Now that his hope has become reality, Neagle is eligible to play Saturday night when the Sounders meet San Jose at Qwest Field.
He becomes the fourth local player signed by Sounders FC, joining Chris Eylander, Kevin Forrest and Kasey Keller.
U.S. Open Cup update
The Sounders’ opponent in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup has narrowed to either the USL Portland Timbers or the Sonoma County (Calif.) Sol of the United States Adult Soccer Association.
The Timbers and Sol will meet Tuesday in California, with the winner advancing to face the Sounders in the round of 16 on or about June 30 at a site to be determined.
Portland advanced to the second round with a 3-0 win over the Kitsap Pumas on Tuesday in Bremerton.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808