It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon and outside the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium there’s an open field filled with youngsters wearing the Olympiacos Piraeus red-and-white jerseys. They’re enjoying and struggling in their own football match as the sun climbs high into a balmy spring afternoon.

These young would-be pros were imbued not only with an almost inexhaustible energy and love for the game, but of late with a beaming confidence visible in practically every move. It’s the positive effect from an incredibly successful three-day period, as their senior counterparts in the pro men’s team on Thursday achieved an epic qualification for the Europa Conference League semi-finals by outlasting Fenerbahce in a penalty shootout in Istanbul. No less than a day later Olympiacos’ U19 team qualified for the final of the UEFA Youth League by overcoming Nantes, again in a penalty shootout (regular time 0-0), in a semi-final played in Nyon, Switzerland.

The late afternoon sun on Saturday along the Neo Faliro coast merely made the red jerseys worn by the youngsters even more illuminating, as the sunrays were combined with pride.

The significant milestones on the pitch are a testament to the hard work being done at Greece’s most popular football club, and provide the necessary momentum for the next major step forward.

With AC Milan knocked-out by Roma in the Europa League semi-finals, only one club remains in Europe vying for two football trophies, and that’s Olympiacos Football!

While the emphasis is squarely on remaining humble, it’s an evident fact, however, that something special has been taking place for some time at the Olympiacos’ Renti practice facility. In simple terms this is called “progress”, or if you like: a constant effort.

This is a collective effort without compromises and without the slightest deviance or discount from the final goal. This isn’t just about rising to the top in every tournament, but also about consolidating Olympiacos as among the best teams on the continent; among the clubs that not only shine in the present but invest in the future.

The outcome of Monday’s U19 final in Switzerland is unknown. It’s not a “fairy tale” tournament run by Olympiacos’ U-19 stars but a successful reality displaying the quality and determination of the lads in the red jerseys.

As far as the pro team’s matchup with Premier League Aston Villa in the Conference League semi-finals is concerned, it’s a massive challenge. However, it’s not only a challenge that Olympiacos Football Club sought out for years, it’s a challenge the club deserved, as it has for some time been devoted and focused on its performance at the highest level. The entire football organization remains focused on excellence in the face of any setbacks; it refuses to ease up and rebounds in a determined and high-profile manner.

We see this, and everyone sees this.

And sure enough, the breakthrough has been achieved, and regardless of what happens in the remaining games. Simply the fact that Olympiacos is vying for the Lennart Johansson Trophy, named for the longest-serving UEFA president and handed to the winners of the UEFA Youth League, says a great deal.

This trophy is a significant piece of football “silverware”, as it has been raised twice by the young players of Chelsea and Barcelona, and has also been won by the U19 teams of Salzburg, Porto, Real Madrid, Benfica and AZ Alkmaar.

Will Olympiacos now be their successor? Is it the Piraeus club’s turn?

As far as the pro side, dreams aren’t forbidden.

Yes, a celebrated Premier League side, Aston Villa, who won the European Cup back in 1982, cannot be considered an easy opponent.

Could it be, however, that today’s Olympiacos Football Club is built for persevering in the face of adversity? Flirting with the seemingly impossible seems to be in the team’s pedigree; it strives to overachieve.

This team constantly confirms that the era it’s experiencing under the leadership of Evangelos Marinakis (such as an upgrading of the Karaiskakis Stadium, establishing a cutting-edge sports training center at the Renti district, winning trophies, successful runs in European play) are extremely productive.

This era has entered the history books and will undoubtedly be one of the club’s most important pages. This march, obviously, is continuing, because the motto of club officials is none other than “we won’t stop dreaming”.