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Preki to get Chivas coach job

January 17, 2007|Grahame L. Jones | Times Staff Writer

Chivas USA today will name Preki, one of the most technically gifted players to represent the United States and a two-time Major League Soccer most valuable player, as its new coach.

Preki, 43, succeeds Bob Bradley, who stepped down last month after being named U.S. Olympic team coach and interim coach of the U.S. national team.

Preki built an immediate rapport with the Chivas players after Bradley hired him as an assistant coach last January. His reputation as a player had preceded him and earned him the respect of the English- and Spanish-speaking players on the Chivas roster.

During 10 seasons in MLS, all but one of them with the Kansas City Wizards, Preki scored 89 goals and had 117 assists in 266 regular-season and playoff games. Known for his cutback moves and his deadly left-foot shot, he helped the Wizards win the MLS title in 2000.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday January 18, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 39 words Type of Material: Correction
Soccer: An article in Sports on Wednesday about Preki becoming the next coach of Chivas USA said that Preki scored a goal against Yugoslavia in the 1998 World Cup. He played against Yugoslavia but did not score a goal.

A devotee of yoga, Preki is renowned for his fitness. He was the league's most valuable player in 1997 and again in 2003, when he was 40 years old, and also won the league's scoring title.

His attacking style appealed to Chivas USA owner Antonio Cue and made him the popular choice ahead of the other two finalists: 1986 Mexico World Cup star Fernando Quirarte and 2006 Mexico national team assistant coach Paco Ramirez.

Preki will officially be introduced as coach at a Home Depot Center news conference this afternoon .

Born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia, Predrag Radosavljevic quickly became known as Preki after moving to the U.S. to play indoor soccer in the early 1980s. He moved back to Europe and played for Everton and Portsmouth in the English league for three seasons before becoming one of the original MLS players when the league was founded in 1996.

That same year he became a U.S. citizen and played the first of 28 games for the national team. He played for the U.S. at the 1998 World Cup in France, scoring against his native Yugoslavia, but is perhaps best remembered for a spectacular goal he scored at the L.A. Coliseum in 1998 when the U.S. defeated world champion Brazil, 1-0, in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

His appointment today makes him the eighth former MLS player now coaching in the 13-team league.

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grahame.jones@latimes.com

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