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USL-2 MVP Neagle lands in Finland

Lamar Neagle (left) celebrates on Aug. 28 after scoring in the Charleston Battery's 2-1 win over Richmond in the USL-2 title match. Neagle notched 22 points in 25 matches with the Menace in 2007 and 2008. -- Photo courtesy USL

It's been quite a year for Lamar Neagle.

The former Menace and UNLV standout has scored two game-winning goals for a Major League Soccer team, been named MVP of the United Soccer Leagues Second Division (USL-2) and won a league title with the Charleston Battery.

In the last month, Neagle's 2010 pro-soccer whirlwind has taken him to the other side of the globe. Just when he thought he would return to his native Washington for training, he received an offer to play for IFK Mariehamn in the Finnish Premier Division -- an offer he couldn't pass up.

No Quarter, a Charleston Battery fan blog, caught up with Neagle once he had landed in Finland. In
this one-on-one feature, the Menace alumn talks about the change of scenery, his uncertain future and his aspirations of making it back to Major League Soccer.

Neagle made his Finnish debut on Sept. 20, playing 25 minutes in a 2-1 loss. He played four minutes on Monday (Sept. 27) in a 3-2 win.

This weekend, he'll see Stefan De Las, a former teammate with the 2008 Menace (Neagle's second of two seasons with the Menace, De Las's first of three years with the team).  De Las, who signed a contract in August (reported in
this story), plays midfield for MYPA (6-8-9, eighth place in the 14-team league); Neagle is a forward for IFK Mariehamn (6-10-6, 12th place). The teams face off Saturday on MYPA's pitch in Kouvola, a city in the country's southeast corner.

Updated Oct. 4: Neagle scored his first international goal in this Oct. 2 match. After coming off the bench at halftime (46th minute), he promptly put IFK Mariehamn on the board in the 47th minute. Neither team scored the rest of the way, and MYPA won, 2-1.

Neagle's year started with the Seattle Sounders. After signing with his hometown team in June 2009, he was ready for his first full year with the MLS side. And after scoring a pair of game-winners in the preseason, Neagle was poised for the opportunity to see his first regular-season action with the Sounders.

Though that opportunity did not come this year -- the team released him in March -- Neagle quickly found his place in South Carolina. His league-leading 12 goals in 19 matches propelled the Battery to the best record in the USL-2. On Aug. 28, the Battery captured the league crown by holding on for a 2-1 win over Richmond. Neagle scored the first goal of what might be the last championship in USL-2 history. The USL recently announced plans for USL-PRO, a new league that combines the USL-1 and USL-2 ddivisions.

Related Link:
Menace Alumni in the Pros

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