Ostersunds FK were playing in the fourth tier in Sweden in 2010.
Seven years later, the club has notched a win in the UEFA Europa League.
Center to all of the club’s recent success is their coach, Englishman Graham Potter. Potter, who’s little-known in America and probably most of England, had a long professional career in the football league, notably playing a season for Southampton in the Premier League and three years for West Bromwich Albion.
After his playing days were over, Potter bounced around as an assistant coach, even taking a role at the Leeds Metropolitan University, where he received his masters degree in leadership and emotional intelligence.
Eventually, Potter took a chance at Ostersunds, and has led the club from the depths of Swedish football up to the Allsvenskan. Earlier this year, Ostersunds improbably won the Swedish Cup in just the club’s second season in top-flight football, giving the club a berth in the Europa League.
Ostersunds then made it past Galatasaray, Fola Esch and PAOK in the Europa League qualifying rounds to make it to the group stage, before on Thursday traveling on the road to Lviv, Ukraine, where the club beat Zorya.
“I am very proud,” Potter said, via Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. “Right now it means everything, but in the morning it does not mean more than that we took three points away from home. Since there are three important games in the league.”
The Europa League win put Potter in some exclusive compony, as seen below from Opta.
Perhaps Potter’s successes abroad will help him back home, should a club in England offer him a job. In the mean time, he still has five more Europa League games this fall to guide his club through, delighting the fan base and Sweden as a whole with their accomplishments.