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Preki Resurfaces as Saint Louis FC Head Coach

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After failed UK move, Republic’s first head coach returns to USL.

Toronto FC v Los Angeles Galaxy Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Saint Louis FC announced today that they have hired former Sacramento Republic FC head coach, Preki, to be their new head coach for the 2017 season.

The move, reported first by the Davis Enterprise’s Evan Ream, likely comes as a surprise to many people involved in American soccer — and to those in Sacramento especially. The last time anyone had heard from Preki, he was heading to the UK to continue his coaching career — passing on an extremely good seven-year contract with the Republic in the process.

However, the job in the UK he had left Sacramento for never materialized and he essentially fell off the grid, spawning the ever popular #WhereIsPreki. During the extended period of silence, Sports Illustrated revealed that Preki had left the Republic in order to manage a UK-based team that Serbian-American business mogul, Milan Mandaric, was planning to buy but had not yet finalized. When the deal fell, Preki was left in limbo.

Enter Saint Louis FC.

The club, which has expressed MLS ambitions in the past, likely leaned heavily on those ambitions and MLS’s stated desire to expand into a city with such a deep-rooted soccer culture.

Matt, a longtime Saint Louis FC fan and member of the St. Louligans, had this to say about the club’s new hire.

I don't think I can understate what a buzz this has created in Saint Louis. It's no secret we've been very disappointed to have missed the USL playoffs for a second straight year. Ultimately the coach paid a price for the results which just weren't acceptable considering the off season acquisitions the team made for 2016.

We've drawn a lot of games, snatching a point when we looked to have all three. Whilst we seemed to play up to supposed better opposition, it was our failure to beat teams like San Antonio at home, drop points to Tulsa, Seattle 2 and Arizona that all but sealed our fate.

Preki we hope will mold a team that can dominate games for a full 90 minutes, something we've not been able to do consistently. We've never had a run of winning results. This I feel will change with the type of coach Preki is.

For more on this story, check out today’s ICS Roundtable Discussion.