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March 1, 2013 at 3:11 PM

A stop and chat with Lamar Neagle

neagle mug 2013Reporters got a chance to catch up with Sounders FC midfielder Lamar Neagle, who will face his former team in Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. season opener at CenturyLink Field. Seattle reacquired Neagle from the Montreal Impact earlier this preseason in a trade for an international roster slot.

Some of the questions were from Montreal media, so there are a few repeats from previous interviews, but here is a full transcript:

*     *     *

(What are your thoughts going into the season opener back with your hometown team?) “Yeah, coming home to family and obviously I’ve been here before, so I know the organization and know a lot of people. It’s a nice homecoming. (And it’ll be) great to see the guys that I was with so soon.”

(Will you be excited to see some of your former Impact teammates?) “Yeah, when you spend a lot of time with anybody… I saw those guys every day for almost a year. It’s going to be good to see all those guys and see how they’ve come along in preseason.”

(What kind of role are you hoping to play this season?) “I mean kind of the same role I had in Montreal. We have a strong team, we’re a deep team here, so I’m trying to get minutes when I can and show a little leadership to the younger guys and work hard.”

(You have a special relationship with the fans here, right?) “Yeah, being a hometown guy — I think me and (Kasey) Keller were the first two hometown guys — and now we’ve got (DeAndre) Yedlin in, and he’s seeing a lot of love from the fans. It’s a great atmosphere to play in.”

(What is the game experience like here compared to other places you’ve been?) “It doesn’t really compare. I came in here as a rookie, so this was kind of the only thing I knew. Coming into 30,000 fans every single game was surreal. It was great in Montreal, as well. We had the second-largest attendance. Everywhere I’ve been there’s been a great fan base, and it’s good to be back.”

(How has preseason gone? Do you feel like one of the guys with half the group and the new guy with the other half?) “A little bit of both. Like I said, the organization is the same, but there’s a lot of turnover no matter what team you’re really on. Montreal has had a few new guys, a new coach, so there’s always change. There’s kind of that, ‘I’m the new guy; I’m trying to prove myself again,’ even though I’ve been here before. But that just comes with the job, I think.”

(Were you surprised to see all the turnover at Montreal, particularly with all the ex-Sounders leaving? Is Sanna Nyassi the only one left?) “Yeah, he’s the only one holding it down up there. With the new team trying to find their way and trying to find how they’re going to play, that’s always going to happen. You see that time and time again in the league. But I think they’ve found out how they really want to play, and they’re getting the guys in there that they think are going to do that for them.”

(Will you take over for Brian Schmetzer in the scouting sessions at all?) “Not really. I don’t think Schmetzer is going to let me do that. Not quite yet. Maybe one day.”

(Is there anything you regret not doing at Montreal?) “I actually wish I would’ve learned more French. I come back here and people are like, ‘How is your French?’, and I’m still like, ‘It’s not so good.’ Maybe I understand a little bit, but I stuck mostly with guys who were speaking English and I lived near Monkland, so it was the English area. I didn’t learn as much as I wanted to.”

(Maybe we should’ve helped you more… [Ed note: From a Montreal reporter] … ) “Yeah, or some Rosetta Stone or something like that.”

(What happened with you getting your number 27 back from Alex Caskey?) “It was great. I wasn’t even going to ask, because it was his number. I came in and he was one of the guys that I immediately connected with. We’d only known each other for a little bit in the last preseason, because he was just coming in — another Charleston guy. I didn’t even ask him, and like maybe a week after I had No. 14 he was like, ‘You know if you would’ve asked for (No. 27), I would’ve given it to you.’ The next day I was like, ‘You want to trade me?’ He was like, ‘I was No. 14 in college. I love No. 14.’ So it kind of worked out for everybody.”

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