Richhill’s Daryl Smylie has helped Jonkopings Sodra secure senior status in Sweden.
The 31-year-old played a key role as the second-tier champions adjusted to life in the top flight by finishing 12th.
All the experts tipped us to finish last but we surprised everyone.Daryl Smylie
Smylie weighed in with seven goals as Jonkopings Sodra celebrated a first season on the main stage in 46 years.
Jonkopings Sodra clocked up eight wins from 30 games to sit six points clear of the three-team Allsvenskan drop zone.
“All the experts tipped us to finish last but we surprised everyone,” said Smylie, who played youth football for Lurgan Town. “We continued to play our brand of football that had been so helpful in securing promotion as Superettan champions.
“It shocked everyone and we proved really hard to beat, especially at home.
“We conceded very few goals and, on a personal level, my season felt really good.
“It was great to play again in the top league and scoring seven goals from midfield was a plus.
“Now I am in Bali on holidays but return to training on December 7 before a break for Christmas and the New Year.
“Our pre-season kicks off on January 10, first in Sweden then a trip to possibly Spain or America.
“It is hard to say when I will be home next but my family head out to Sweden to spend the Christmas holidays.”
Smylie has made almost 200 appearances for Jonkopings - having previously played for Ostersunds, Ljungskile and Kalmar since moving to Sweden in 2007.
He played in the United Kingdom for Newcastle United, Stockport County and Livingston.