Wednesday, February 6, 2013

6 February 1996 - The Wizard Of Kansas City

On 6 February 1996, Kansas City acquired the rights to former Everton and Portsmouth winger Preki, who went on to become the club's career leader in goals and assists.

The 32-year old Yugoslav-born American international, whose full name is Predrag Radosavljević, had played for a number of different clubs, including Red Star Belgrade and three different American indoor soccer teams, before joining Kansas City for the first MLS season. Despite a mid-table finish, they managed to reach the conference finals in the playoffs, while Preki shined as their star, scoring a team-high 18 goals that year.

He was the league MVP the following year, leading Kansas City to the top of the Western Conference table while individually finishing as the league's scoring champion (based on a combination of goals and assists in which the former were worth two points and the latter one). In 2000, the team finished with the best regular-season record and won the the MLS Cup.

After spending the 2001 season with Miami, he returned to Kansas City in 2002 and the next year was again the scoring champion and league MVP. (He rejoined Kansas City in a supplemental draft after Miami folded, but only after every other team in the league declined to sign him).

He retired from playing after the 2005 season, but moved quickly into management, joining Chivas USA as an assistant in 2006 and taking full rein of the club in 2007. Chivas won the conference that year, leading to Preki being named the MLS Coach of the Year. By 2009, however, the club was struggling, which led to his departure and a brief but unsuccessful spell in charge of Toronto in 2010, the same year he was inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame.

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