Soccer

He led Republic FC to its USL title in 2014. Now, Preki is heading back to MLS

FILE -- Fans congratulate Republic FC head coach Predrag “Preki” Radosavljevic prior to the match between Republic FC and the LA Galaxy II at Bonney Field in Sacramento on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Preki left Republic FC in 2015. On Jan. 12, 2018, the Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer hired Preki as an assistant coach.
FILE -- Fans congratulate Republic FC head coach Predrag “Preki” Radosavljevic prior to the match between Republic FC and the LA Galaxy II at Bonney Field in Sacramento on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Preki left Republic FC in 2015. On Jan. 12, 2018, the Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer hired Preki as an assistant coach. Sacramento Bee File

Former Republic FC coach Predrag Radosavljevic – better known as Preki – was announced Friday as the newest member of the Seattle Sounders FC coaching staff, marking his return to Major League Soccer.

Preki, 54, served as Republic FC’s head coach for 2014, the team’s inaugural season in which it captured a United Soccer League championship banner and Preki earned USL Coach of the Year honors.

His departure in 2015 “surprised” and “devastated” some of his players. He returned to the USL to coach St. Louis FC for the 2017 season.

Born in what is now Serbia, Preki’s playing career spanned from 1982 to 2005. After moving to the U.S. in 1985, Preki acquired citizenship here in 1996 and played for the American national team that same year.

“I’m excited to be back in Major League Soccer,” Preki said in a Sounders news release. “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.”

His MLS tenure includes 242 matches as a player, as well as roles at head coach with now-nonexistent Chivas USA from 2007-09 and Toronto FC in 2010. He was MLS Coach of the Year in 2007.

Paul Buckle replaced Preki for Republic FC in 2015 and still serves as head coach. The team has returned to the USL playoffs each season since then, but 2014 remains Sacramento’s only appearance in the championship match.

Preki will be one of four assistants under head coach Brian Schmetzer. Preki and Schmetzer played two seasons together for the Tacoma Stars indoor team in the 1980s, according to the release.

In 2013, Preki was named to the Indoor Soccer Hall of Fame.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

  Comments