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Men’s soccer player has connections to local pro club

Chico State men's soccer player Nick Radosavljevic is a junior foward on this year's team. Photo credit: Nick Reddy

Nick Radosavljevic is quite a journeyman, and his collegiate soccer career has taken him all over the country. Having a world-renowned father will do that.

The transfer junior midfielder from American River Junior College and the son of Predrag “Preki” Radosavljevic, a two time Major League Soccer MVP and English Premier League star, as well as head coach of Sacramento Republic FC, has quite the soccer pedigree. Born in England, the 21-year-old has lived in St. Louis, Southern California, Toronto, Chicago, North Carolina and Washington.

After finishing high school in Chicago, Radosavljevic attended Catwaba College in North Carolina on scholarship, beginning his carousel of colleges.

“They gave me a good opportunity, no one else was going to invest in me,” said Radosavljevic of his short time on the East Coast.

Wanting to be closer to his family, Radosavljevic decided to transfer to Pacific Lutheran University in Washington state. His father had started his career playing professional indoor soccer in Tacoma.

Radosavljevic admits that he rushed into that decision but has no regrets.

“It helped me progress as a person,” he said.

After attending two schools during his freshman year, his father was hired to be the head coach of Sacramento Republic FC in 2013, an expansion United Soccer League squad.

“It was clear that it was going to be good place for me. Took a chance, and it worked out,” Preki said.

Building a team from scratch is extremely difficult. The Republic’s open tryouts found them a few players, and Preki assembled a mixture of young players like Chico State product Octavio Guzman (‘13) and veterans like Dominic Jakubek (‘03) looking to reignite their careers. Having many years of MLS coaching experience already, Preki guided the squad to a title, and believes that a move to the country’s premier soccer league is imminent.

Winning always helps, he said, and that’s what he’ll focus on.

“We’re waiting for MLS to give us the green light. We are ready, could go next season,” said Preki.

With his father building up the local pro team, Radosavljevic decided to join him in Sacramento and landed at American River. Chico State head coach Felipe Restrepo saw Preki’s son play last season and convinced him to join the Wildcats for his junior year.

Now at his fourth school in three years, Radosavljevic is glad to know that he will spend two seasons playing with a very good Wildcat team.

“This team is very different than my other teams. We have a lot of talented guys. It’s really special to be part of this group, “ Radosavljevic said. “Chico is very different from what I’m used to. I’ve lived in a lot of places, big cities. But here it seems like a tight knit community. I’m still getting used to it but I like it a lot. The people are very friendly.”

Despite having such a successful father, Radosavljevic says his dad didn’t exert his tough love coaching style on him when it came to playing soccer growing up.

“Never forced. My dad’s not that type of person. He’s gotten a reputation around the country for being a stickler and a hard-ass but he lets you do what you want, especially when it comes to a family setting. [Soccer] was never forced upon me,” Radosavljevic said.

Radosavljevic mentioned that he also played baseball and basketball for a few years in his youth but quickly knew that soccer was for him. He’s also thankful for his father helping him get to where he is today, such as training with the Republic in the offseason.

As for his own professional aspirations, Radosavljevic cited Guzman and Jakubek as examples of how to reach the next level.

Guzman, a midfielder, also attended community college prior to starring for Chico State. He scored the game winning goal in the championship match for the Sacramento Republic FC Sept. 27.

The younger Radosavljevic knows it’ll be tough to match his father’s soccer accomplishments, but that’s not going to stop him from trying.

“I feel like I see the game the right way. Once I work on my game and I put in the work everyday, it’s all up to me, it’s not up to anyone else. I want to go as far as I can go,” Radosavljevic said.

For the time being, Radosavljevic is focused on helping his team anyway he can.

“It’s all about the group right now,” he said. “It’s all about us coming together, how cohesive can we be.”

Nick Reddy can be reached at [email protected] or @NickIsReddy on Twitter.

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