Preki coaching Sacramento 2018-01-09
USA Today Sports

Seattle Sounders hire former United States international, MLS great Preki as assistant coach

The Seattle Sounders hired Predrag “Preki” Radosavljevič on Friday as an assistant to Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. Preki joins current assistants Gonzalo Pineda, Djimi Traore and Tommy Dutra.

Preki brings a wealth of international and domestic experience as a player and a coach to Seattle and bolsters what was already one of the best assistant corps in Major League Soccer.

“We are happy to add Preki to our staff as a guy with extensive experience as both a player and a coach,” said Vice President of Soccer & Sporting Director Chris Henderson. “It also helps that he has longstanding friendships with several members of our staff and management. 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.”

Born in the former Yugoslavia and present day Serbia, Preki began his career with Serbian giants Red Star Belgrade in 1982 before moving to the United States and joining the Tacoma Stars indoor team in 1985. He spent five years with Tacoma, including the final two as Schmetzer’s teammate, before each made the move to fellow indoor side the St. Louis Storm.

After leaving St. Louis, Preki had stints with English clubs Everton and Portsmouth before starting one of the most successful MLS careers ever when he joined the Kansas City Wizards in 1996, the league’s inaugural year. He is 19th all time in MLS in goals with 79 from 242 matches and fifth in assists with 112.

Preki acquired U.S. citizenship in 1996 and made his international debut at the seasoned age of 33. He scored four goals in 28 caps from 1996-2001.

“I’m excited to be back in Major League Soccer,” Preki said. “My family is from here. My first steps on this continent were here. I was in Tacoma with the Tacoma Stars, and I’ve always had great memories of this place. It’s a pretty easy move for me.”

Following the end of his playing career in 2005, Preki joined now-defunct Chivas USA as an assistant in 2006 before taking over as head coach from 2007-09. He managed Toronto FC in 2010 then spent more than three years away from coaching until United Soccer League side Sacramento Republic FC named Preki their manager in 2014. He left in 2015 before taking over fellow USL team St. Louis FC in 2017.

“I’m excited to add to the coaching staff in whatever capacity they need me to,” Preki said.