SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC today announced that Preki has joined Head Coach Brian Schmetzer’s staff as an Assistant Coach. The veteran coach comes to Seattle after serving as Head Coach of Saint Louis FC of the USL in 2017, bringing an extensive resume of 35 years of professional soccer, including 24 as a player and eight as a coach. Preki returns to the Pacific Northwest after featuring for the Tacoma Stars from 1985-1990, where he was teammates with Schmetzer. He also reunites with Sounders FC VP of Soccer & Sporting Director Chris Henderson after the two were teammates in MLS and the U.S. Men’s National Team.
“I am very happy to welcome my friend and former teammate Preki back to the Pacific Northwest. He has had a lot of success as player and coach over the years and I know that will continue here with Sounders FC,” said Schmetzer. “His addition to the staff makes our franchise stronger and more competitive. Fans from the region who watched him play for the Tacoma Stars understand his desire to win and never-give-up mentality, traits that are in line with the philosophy of the club.”
Preki’s coaching career began as an assistant under Bob Bradley at Chivas USA in 2006, before serving as Head Coach from 2007-2009, accumulating a 47-39-28 record and three postseason appearances, in addition to earning 2007 MLS Coach of the Year. After a year as Head Coach of Toronto FC in 2010, Preki took a three-year break from the sideline before returning in 2013 to coach in the USL for Sacramento Republic FC (2014-2015) and Saint Louis FC (2017).
“We are very proud to bring in a coach with such a vast pro soccer resume, as well as a plethora of connections to the league and area,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “His wealth of experience will be valuable to the club as we prepare for Champions League and another run at MLS Cup in 2018.”
Born in Yugoslavia, Preki played as a youth in Belgrade before signing with the Tacoma Stars of the Major Indoor Soccer League in 1985, where he featured for five seasons – earning multiple All-Star honors and the 1989 MISL MVP – playing alongside Schmetzer. After a short stint in Sweden and two years with the St. Louis Storm of the MISL, he made the move to Everton of the English Premier League, where he played from 1992-1994. He split the next two seasons between Portsmouth in England the San Jose Grizzlies of the Continental Indoor Soccer League, earning 1995 CISL MVP honors.
“I’m thrilled to join a first-class organization like Sounders FC that has already accomplished so much since joining MLS,” said Preki. “It’s also very exciting to return to the Pacific Northwest and collaborate with two of my former teammates, Brian Schmetzer and Chris Henderson. I look forward to coaching alongside Brian and doing whatever I can to help add to the club’s trophy case.”
He then joined Major League Soccer in its inaugural season in 1996 with the Kansas City Wizards, where he played until 2005 (save for the 2001 season with the Miami Fusion). In his 10 seasons in MLS, Preki tallied 79 goals and 112 assists in 242 appearances, winning 1997 and 2003 MLS MVP and Golden Boot honors, in addition to capturing the 2000 MLS Cup the Kansas City alongside Henderson. Preki and Henderson were teammates in MLS from 1999-2000 with the Wizards, then again in 2001 while both played for the Miami Fusion. Preki earned 28 caps and scored four goals for the U.S. Men’s National Team after earning his citizenship in 1996, including two appearances in the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.
“We are happy to add Preki to our staff as a guy with extensive experience as both a player and a coach. It also helps that he has longstanding friendships with several members of our staff and management,” said Henderson. “He has a winning mentality that he proved as a player and as a coach, and we think he’ll be able to add value to our team.”
The 2018 Sounders FC preseason presented by adidas begins later this month before the MLS regular season kicks off on March 4. Prior to that, Sounders FC is set to face Salvadoran club Santa Tecla FC in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, the region's premier club championship, with the first leg in El Salvador on February 22 and the second leg at CenturyLink Field on March 1. Sounders FC season tickets are still available, including new 2018 seating options in the 300 level, with full information available at SoundersFC.com or by calling 877-MLS-GOAL. For complete information, details and pricing on 2018 Sounders FC season tickets, fans should call 877-MLS-GOAL or email Sales@SoundersFC.com.