Confirmed: Karol Świderski has left Charlotte FC for Italian Serie A Club Hellas Verona
Charlotte FC's all-time leading scorer finally gets the ticket back to European football.
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Updated at 1:10 PM EST: Soccer Sheet can confirm the Karol Świderski deal is done and signed.
It’s a loan until June 30 with a purchase option at end of the Serie A season. If the purchase option isn’t taken he comes back to Charlotte July 1.
The deal opens up a Designated Player slot because of the way the deal is structured.
According to sources inside the building, Coach Dean Smith is calm and the club is aligned with the direction. The major needs for the club - a right winger and a left center back - haven’t changed.
As first reported by Italian football journalist Alfredo Pedullà, Polish striker Karol Świderski is set to depart MLS and join Serie A side Hellas Verona.
Earlier today, Polish football journalist Tomasz Włodarczyk reported Charlotte’s most successful Designated Player will undergo medical tests in Italy on Thursday. If the deal is not official yet, but if it follows standard procedure a final contract will be signed after the medical exam.
Charlotte FC has declined to comment on the reports.
Currently, Hellas Verona is in a battle to escape relegation. Less than two weeks ago, their key striker Cyril Ngonge signed with Napoli, and they sit in a precarious position on the table - they’re currently 16th, but only escape the relegation zone due to the goal difference tiebreaker.
Karol Świderski Was Charlotte FC’s First Big Star
Two years ago this week, Charlotte FC signed Świderski to a three-year deal as their first-ever “Designated Player,” a tag under MLS rules that allows clubs to functionally ignore salary caps for up to three players on the squad. The striker from Rawicz, Poland played for Charlotte FC for two years, scoring 22 goals for the club in league play, as well as a goal in the 2023 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and two in Leagues Cup play to become the club’s all-time leading scorer.
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However, during his tenure in Charlotte, some rifts developed.
When Świderski first got to Charlotte, soccer in the United States was not what he imagined.
At the beginning of the season, he was rarely recognized around town, which felt a little weird. “I was surprised,” he said. “It’s like nobody knows football. Now after every game it’s more and more people. I think nowadays they know.”
Playing for PAOK in Thessaloniki, Swiderski couldn’t go a block without getting stopped for a chat or a picture. And he rarely paid for his own coffee during morning visits to the beach with his family.
“They say, ‘You don’t need to pay, just score in the next game,’” he said.
In his second season, Świderski began to emerge as more of a leader in the club, but also began to talk more and more about returning to Europe even as the club and the fanbase wanted to hold on to their first-ever star player. The club’s middle-of-the-table performance and the perception that the team was playing below its talent level in the second season further fueled these rumors.
With the likely announcement that he is moving on from MLS, Świderski will get the chance to play in Europe again and grow his career beyond what it could be in Charlotte, with fans of the Crown wondering what could have been with another year. Fans won’t get a chance to see him play under new head coach Dean Smith, and may wonder who will step up to lead (and score for) Charlotte as many of the team’s forwards move on.
Soccer Sheet will have more on this story as it develops.