U.S. legend 'Preki' Radosavljevic leaves Sacramento for job in UK

Former United States international Predrag "Preki" Radosavljevic will step down down as Sacramento Republic coach this week after taking a job in the United Kingdom, the United Soccer League club said on Wednesday.

Sacramento, which plays in the third tier of American soccer in the USL, said on Wednesday that Preki had "accepted a position in the United Kingdom" and would leave the club after Saturday's game against LA Galaxy II.

Before Sacramento's announcement, bookmakers in England slashed the odds that Preki would take over the Premier League's Leicester City, which has been searching for a manager since sacking Nigel Pearson on June 30.

Leicester is the only club in England's top four divisions currently with a head coaching vacancy.

Preki's new job will be his first coaching appointment outside of the U.S., and comes as a surprise since he has not coached in Major League Soccer since 2010.

If hired by Leicester, he would be the first American to coach in the Premier League.

Preki was born in Yugoslavia but played in the U.S. starting in 1985 as an indoor player, and after gaining U.S. citizenship represented the U.S. 28 times at the international level.

He played in England with Everton and Portsmouth in the mid-1990s before joining Major League Soccer when the American league began in 1996. He won the Golden Boot and was named league MVP in 1997 and 2003.

He scored the winning goal for the U.S. against Brazil in a 1998 Gold Cup semifinal and also played at the 1998 World Cup.

In his first year as a head coach in 2007, he led Chivas USA to the Western Conference title and was named MLS manager of the year.

Preki took some time away from the game after Toronto FC fired him near the end of the 2010 season, before eventually resurfacing in Sacramento. He led the Republic to the 2014 USL championship.

"Republic FC has been one of the best experiences in my entire career," Preki said in a statement. "Our players have worked harder than any I know. The fans, city and soccer community opened their hearts to the club as well as to me.

"This was not a decision I made lightly. The opportunity ahead is a lifetime dream for me and a chance to challenge myself at the highest level of the game."

English manager Paul Buckle will replace Preki as Sacramento boss.