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Preki close to joining Sounders coaching staff

Tacoma Stars legend has one of the more interesting and decorated careers, but this would be his first professional coaching gig in the Puget Sound area.

Real Salt Lake v CD Chivas USA Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

One of the most decorated players in Puget Sound soccer history could be joining the Seattle Sounders coaching staff, according to someone who usually is very reliable on this sort of story.

While Preki may no longer be a household name, it’s worth remembering just how remarkable his career was and where he got his start in American soccer. After moving here from his native Serbia where he was a little-used player with Red Star Belgrade, Preki scored more than 200 goals for the Tacoma Stars (1985-1990), paving the way for him to become the greatest player in indoor history (more than 400 career goals). After short stints with Everton and Portsmouth, he came to MLS where he twice won the Golden Boot, became the only two-time winner of the MLS MVP, and earned 28 caps with the United States national team. After retiring in 2005 at 42, he moved into the coaching ranks and was reasonably successful as a head coach with Chivas USA (2007-09) and Toronto FC (2010) before resurfacing with the USL’s Sacramento Republic (2014-15). He left the Republic under somewhat strange circumstances, as it was rumored that he was poised to take a job in England that never materialized. Preki’s last coaching gig was with the USL’s St. Louis FC, but he left after they missed the playoffs this year.

Along the way, Preki has been a teammate of both Brian Schmetzer and Chris Henderson. From 1988-90, Schmetzer was a player/assistant coach with the Stars. Both played for the St. Louis Storm (another indoor team) in 1991. Preki was also teammates with Henderson for two seasons with the Kansas City Wizards (1999-2000), including the year they won MLS Cup.

What role Preki might play on the Sounders staff is still unknown. Gonzalo Pineda effectively served as Schmetzer’s top assistant this year and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. But they’ve also never really replaced Ante Razov, who left following the 2016 season. With S2 moving to Tacoma next season, adding a coach with local ties to the staff would check an additional box.

Add all of this together, and there’s plenty of reason to give this report some serious attention. From the Sounders perspective, it seems almost like a no-brainer.

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