Saint Louis FC announced that Preki (Predrag Radosavljevic) has been named the second head coach in franchise history. The 2000 Major League Soccer (MLS) Champion, 2007 MLS Coach of the Year and 2014 United Soccer League (USL) Champion will assume the lead role in the team’s 3rd season which begins in Spring 2017. Dale Schilly led the team in 2015 and for 23 games of the 2016 season. Tim Leonard was named the interim Head Coach for the final seven games of the 2016 season and will return in 2017 as assistant coach.
Saint Louis FC General Manager and Club Vice President, Jeremy Alumbaugh, looking at the future under his new head coach, “Preki is someone that brings the passion, the determination and the commitment to creating an environment where players are pushed to realize their full potential. His track record of winning at both the MLS and USL levels make him the ideal person to lead Saint Louis FC, but also his ability to develop players during different points in their careers is something we were attracted to. If you look at the players he has helped bring along during his time at Chivas USA, Toronto, and Sacramento, you see a history of making players better and helping them become true professionals.”
Preki’s most recent coaching position was with the USL club, Sacramento Republic. In 53 matches he compiled 33 wins, 15 losses, and 5 draws. Sacramento Republic won the USL championship under Preki’s direction in their inaugural season in 2014.
“Winning, success and an intense desire to compete are part of his DNA,” said Saint Louis FC President Patrick Barry. “We had a very clear vision for what we wanted in our next coach and Preki matches that vision. The appointment of Preki signals our commitment to building the best franchise in the USL.”
Previous to Sacramento, Preki had coached at the Major League Soccer level level for Chivas USA and Toronto FC In three seasons (2007-2009) His stint in Los Angeles with Chivas USA, he boasted a record of 41-36-30 while earning Coach of the Year honors in 2007. From 2009 to 2010, he accumulated a record of 11-11-10 for Toronto FC.
St. Louis soccer fans may remember Preki from his playing career with the St. Louis Storm from 1990 to 1992. In 91 appearances, he tallied 113 goals for the team. From St. Louis, he moved on to play for Everton, who is now in the English Premier League and Portsmouth, who are now in the English League 2. In 46 appearances for Everton, he scored 4 times, while scoring 5 times in the 40 matches for Portsmouth.
His U.S. career would continue in the MLS with the Kansas City Wizards. Between 1996 and 2000, Preki scored 50 times in 145 appearances. He would play the 2001 season with the Miami Fusion, where he scored 8 goals in the 24 appearances for the club before he returned to Kansas City to finish his MLS career. Between 2002 and 2005 with KC, Preki finished 21 times in 73 appearances. During his MLS playing career, he acquired many awards. He is currently the only player to win the MLS Scoring Champion and MLS MVP Award twice, in 1997 and 2003.
Preki made multiple appearances with the U.S. Men’s National team between 1996 and 2001. His goals against Guatemala and El Salvador helped the team qualify for the 1998 World Cup in France. Arguably the biggest goal in his career came on February 10, 1998. The U.S. Men’s National Team defeated Brazil, 1-0, in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The U.S. would eventually finish second to Mexico in the tournament.