By Ryan Donahue
Karol Świderski (Photo courtesy of CJ Hellner/TopBin90)
On February 1, 2024, Charlotte FC announced that its first Designated Player in the club’s history Karol Świderski would depart on loan to join Serie A side Hellas Verona.
With Świderski’s loan running through the end of June, the Serie A side does hold an option to buy the player and Charlotte will likely look to move on from Świderski and fill the vacant DP position with a player that fits Dean Smith's profile.
”This opportunity is in Charlotte FC’s best interest as we reconfigure our roster under a new head coach. Karol has always given his best on the pitch for us, and he was clear with his intention to pursue this opportunity. In this situation, the Club was not going to stand in his way” reported Charlotte FC’s General Manager Zoran Krneta.
While many fans will be disappointed to no longer get the opportunity to shout “Świderski” inside Bank of America, the departure of the Polish striker represents a complex dynamic between the fans, the club, and the player.
The 27-year-old joined Charlotte FC ahead of its inaugural season from Paok Thessaloniki where he capped 134 appearances, scoring 35 goals and 14 assists.
Despite Charlotte’s disappointing start to its opening campaign Świderski wasted no time getting on the scoring sheet. Despite poor results on the field and the early departure of head coach Miguel Ramirez, Świderski made 30 appearances in the opening season scoring 10 goals and picking up four assists. As the season progressed, and the team found stability under interim manager Christian Lattanzio, Świderski became instrumental to the side’s offense and nearly pushed the team to playoff qualification.
Świderki’s second season in Charlotte yielded very similar results with the striker scoring 12 and assisting five times across 31 games despite changes to the offense that forced him to play out of position on the wing or as an attacking midfielder behind Enzo Copetti.
Despite a positive second season with Charlotte, it became obvious with the signing of Copetti that Świderski would be resigned to playing most commonly in secondary positions that less appealed to the striker who had already expressed a desire to return to Europe.
The club’s decision to allow Świderski to go out on loan shows a willingness to back their Argentine striker Copetti ahead of the season and bolster an area of the pitch with a new DP that the manager feels is more critical rather than forcing Świderski into a role that he doesn’t fit, or want to play.
As Świderski and Poland chase the upcoming summer’s Euro 2024, he will hope that his loan move will enable him to be in his best form going into the tournament.
Should Hellas Verona choose not to exercise their buy option, Charlotte will likely look to offload Świderski in the summer to one of several European sides who will be exploring the Polish striker’s services. Certain criteria can be met that would trigger the buy option as well. One of these criteria is Hellas Verona avoiding relegation.
While Charlotte will miss its first DP in the club's history, the move presents a positive outcome for all parties involved and fans should look forward to following Świderski’s performances in the weeks ahead.