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Preki Aiming to Build ‘Something Special’ in Saint Louis

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 10/15/16, 12:21PM EDT

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New STLFC Coach opens up about departure from Sacramento, arrival in Saint Louis


Photo courtesy Saint Louis FC

After missing the USL Cup Playoffs in both of the club’s first two seasons, Saint Louis FC could have a very different look in 2017 under Head Coach Preki, with the new appointment determined to make his mark quickly at his new club this offseason.

“I was fully aware, I watched their games and their players, and there will be players that will be staying here, there will be players that will be gone, there will be players coming in,” Preki told SiriusXMFC’s Jason Davis on the United States of Soccer on Friday morning. “I can promise you we’re not going to be in the bottom two, that’s for sure. We’re going to make something special here.”

The 2014 USL Coach of the Year was unveiled on Wednesday evening as he returned to coaching after departing Sacramento Republic FC midway through the season for a potential position that ‘didn’t come around’, according to the National Soccer Hall of Fame member. 

“I understand the question about leaving the club in a certain moment, but my thinking was because I knew what was coming up, and the opportunity might be a month, a month-and-a-half away from the day that I left, I just didn’t want to leave Sacramento in a tough spot before the playoffs,” Preki explained. “The club generally knew from the first moment that I walked into the club that this could be a possibility, so I was very up front with them, I told them that this was coming up, and I wanted to give them time to find the next person in line who was going to take over, and that’s exactly what they did.”

Republic FC has gone on to success under Preki’s replacement, Paul Buckle, finishing top of the Western Conference in the 2016 USL regular season. That type of position in the standings is now the goal for Preki with Saint Louis FC, which had some outstanding moments in the regular season led by El Salvador forward Irvin Herrera, but not enough consistency to earn a playoff berth.


Photo courtesy Saint Louis FC

With Preki at the helm, that’s likely to change, as the coach’s vision for bringing success to a city he previously played in in the early 1990s aligned with the goals of the club’s ownership.

“The people here are desperate for success, I am desperate for success again,” Preki told Davis. “People who know me know I’m not a good guy when it comes to losing. I hate losing, but winning just for the sake of winning, that doesn’t interest me either. We’ve got to win in a certain way, with a certain style.  That’s what I’m interested in, and that’s why I think people brought me here, that’s why they believe in me, and I think together we’re going to do some special things here.”

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