A midfielder-forward who played for nearly 20 years in American indoor and outdoor leagues, and became a star of the U.S. national team after gaining American citizenship in 1996 at the age of 33.
Preki, who was born in Yugoslavia and whose full name was Predrag Radosavljevic, played 28 full internationals for the United States and was the first man to win the MLS most valuable player award twice. He played for Red Star Belgrade before coming to the United States in 1984, and was one of the biggest stars of the Major Indoor Soccer League and the Continental Indoor Soccer League during his nine seasons with the Tacoma Stars, St. Louis Storm and San Jose Grizzles.
He played for Everton and Portsmouth in England from 1992 to 1995, and then came to outdoor stardom with American fans when he was the leading player of the Kansas City Wizards in the early seasons of Major League Soccer. He was chosen as MLS’s most valuable player in 1997 and 2003, won an MLS championship with the Wizards in 2000, and was named to the MLS Best XI in 1996, 1997, 2001 and 2003. The 2003 season, in which he scored 12 goals and led Kansas City to the MLS semifinals, marked an impressive comeback for a 40-year-old midfielder.
Preki was famed for his powerful left foot and long-range shooting skills. However, he had some difficulty finding a regular place in the national team, and some of his biggest contributions to the national team were in a substitute’s role, including the spectacular shots that beat Costa Rica and Brazil in consecutive games at the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup. He played as a substitute in two of the United States’ three games at the 1998 World Cup and appeared in 10 World Cup qualifiers.
Inducted in 2010.