Enzo Copetti has reached heights that others doubted he could ever achieve.
The 26-year-old finished the 2022 Argentine Primera División campaign with a total of 21 goals and six assists, just coming up short to leading Argentine giants, Racing Club, to a championship. It’s hard to believe that the same player just four years ago was playing as a defender in the second division of Argentina.
With so much talent within the Argentine soccer system, it’s not uncommon for talented players to get overlooked. Copetti was one of these players, and it turns out that being overlooked is a powerful motivator.
Path To Charlotte
As Charlotte’s inaugural season progressed, it became more and more apparent to the technical staff that the team would benefit from a traditional but dynamic striker. Christian Lattanzio’s tactical shift to playing Karol Świderski as an attacking midfielder/second striker paired with a more traditional striker led to some of Charlotte FC's best performances of the season.
Playing with a striker that was content staying in and around the box allowed Świderski the freedom to influence the game from different parts of the pitch. His playmaking ability was utilized to its fullest potential, and the whole team benefited from it.
And this is where Copetti comes into the picture...
When the search began for this profile of player, it was tough to ignore the leading goal scorer in Argentina. The scouting department kept tabs on Copetti, as it does with all prolific strikers around the world.
“Enzo was a player that we had been monitoring for some time and decided to show concrete interest for as soon as we found out he was available for MLS,” said CLTFC Director of Scouting Thomas Schaling. “He showed a great desire early on to come to MLS, which is very important to us. You want to know if a player is truly interested in coming. We only want players here who are super hungry to play in MLS and for Charlotte FC.”
A trip down to Argentina was the next step. Schaling was one of those who traveled to Argentina to meet with Copetti to get a better gauge of the person he is. When asked what stood out to him the most about the Argentine, Schaling’s response was:
“His drive and determination.”
Despite being doubted at every stop and often missing out on the chances other players were afforded, Copetti’s drive has gotten him to where he is today. He could have easily given up and accepted being a second-division player in Argentina, but he was hungry for more. Never giving up defines his entire career, so much so that he has "Never Give Up" permanently inked on his skin.
That same hunger and drive translates to how he plays on the pitch.
After bouncing around different positions throughout the second division, it became apparent that Copetti was built to be a striker. He’s physically imposing, boasts intelligent movement, and possesses a selfless work ethic – all traits befitting of a true nine.
A lot of what makes the Argentine excel is the intensity with which he plays with. He brings an intensity rarely matched on both sides of the ball. He's persistent in his defensive pressing, which at times can force mistakes out of the opposition.
“The great thing about Enzo is that he makes these runs to create space for others as well as for himself," describes Schaling. "He is also able to match his aggressiveness when his team has the ball with the same aggressiveness when the opposition has the ball. This intensity with which he plays is something that is very important to us. He fits the striker profile we felt our team needed in order to take the next step in its development.”
Enzo Copetti | Pressing Highlight
However, it’s his relentless movement off-the-ball that makes him a force to be reckoned with.
Copetti is rarely stagnant, consistently asking questions of opposing defenders with his movement. He’s the first to break out of a counterattack and a menace in the box. As a defender, all it takes is losing track of Copetti once, and he punishes you with a goal. Even if his movement doesn’t result in him scoring, he drags defenders out of position, thus allowing teammates to exploit the open space.
“He’s the type of player who’s constantly going to be switched on in and around the box,” says Schaling. “He’s always going to fight his defender to get away from him. He’ll always look to reposition himself quickly if the initial play does not work out as anticipated. He’s constantly looking to find the right position in the box and to stretch the opposition’s backline with runs in behind.
He also has the physical tools to match his drive. The Argentine possesses good speed and upper body strength to overwhelm defenders. It’s no coincidence that his nickname is “El Tanque” which translates to “The Tank".
Enzo Copetti | Physicality Highlight
That speed combined with his aggressiveness off the ball makes Copetti a serious threat in transition. His pace and power in transition scenarios are difficult for any defender to deal with. Quick touch-and-go combinations are what Copetti prefers but he’s still capable of using his physique to hold up and slow down play if needed.
Enzo Coppetti | Counter-Attack Highlight
His aerial ability is also a major part of his game. While athleticism certainly helps with aerial duals, positioning and timing are just as if not more important. Copetti finished in the 97th percentile of headed goals in the latest season of the Argentine Primera División scoring a header around every 3 to 4 matches.
Enzo Copetti | Header Goals Highlights
Aerial ability is not only useful for scoring goals, but it’s also a tool to link play and win those critical second balls. That encapsulates Copetti. The same skillset and tools that make him an elite goalscorer are also used to impact every phase of the game on both sides of the ball.
The following is what the Charlotte FC Analytics department had to say about the Club's new nine:
“Copetti's impressive aerial ability, frequent involvement in the penalty area, and superb shot selection all shone through in the data, leading to an impressive goal output last season. He truly stood out as a dominant offensive and defensive force for Racing Club in a strong league, with all the signs he will continue the positive trend at Charlotte FC.”
Charlotte FC continues to strengthen the roster for 2023 by adding an Argentine star entering his prime who can raise the ceiling of the team. Copetti has all the physical attributes suited to thriving in MLS along with the intangibles. As a Designated Player, he’ll have higher expectations set for him, but Copetti’s entire career up until this point has been defined by living up to the moment.
Introducing Enzo Copetti | Highlights