Strikers are largely defined by goals, but there is so much more to the role than just that. The reality is that goal scoring opportunities come few and far between during a match. What a striker does in between those chances is equally important to the success of the team.
While the final touch receives all the headlines, goals are often the product of a combination of many different pivotal moments. Things like good touches, link-up play, and intelligent movement all add up to what eventually becomes a goal.
Charlotte FC’s newest signing, Karol Świderski, is a proven goal scorer but also excels in these other key areas, making him the well-rounded striker the Club needs for their playing style under Head Coach Miguel Ramírez.
When playing in a positional, possession-based game model like the one Ramírez utilizes, having a striker who is a facilitator in the buildup becomes that much more vital.
The striker in this system must be willing and capable of dropping down to receive the ball in deeper areas. This helps create numerical advantages in the midfield, opening up more passing options for players to move the ball up the pitch.
This is referred to as link up play, which is the combination of passing, off the ball running, and holding up of the ball that allows a team to function as a coherent unit as they progress up the pitch together.
To be effective in link up play, a striker must have good spatial awareness and good vision to spot open teammates, as well as the technical ability to hold the ball up and make accurate, well-weighted passes for quick combinations with teammates.
These are all traits that characterize Świderski’s style of play; he is a connector. Great strikers don’t only score goals, but also make the players around them better. Świderski does just this.
“His link up play and how he connects with others is really good. You can see the weight of all his passes, that everything is always very precise,” said Charlotte FC’s Director of Scouting Thomas Schaling. “He is so good at enabling others and getting others to play well around him. He sets up the players around him with the right service.”
This level of link up play wouldn’t be possible without a strong technical proficiency, which is a testament of the Pole’s ability and understanding of the game.
“His technical abilities, such as his first touch, the way he brings balls down, and his control of the ball under pressure and on the turn are all excellent,” said Schaling.
Even when he has very little space and time to work with, Świderski has the composure and technical ability to dribble or pass out of tricky situations. This, in turn, helps the team as a whole break down defenses.
Attacking the Box
Once the build-up phase reaches the final attacking third, the striker’s focus turns to getting into goal scoring positions. At the end of the day, putting the ball in the back of the net is still the primary job of strikers.
Intelligent movement is a striker’s best friend in and around the opposing team's box. You can’t score goals if you don’t get into the right, high-percentage positions.
Świderski’s good spatial awareness comes into dangerous effect in these positions. He is clever in his runs to put himself into good positions to score.
He has a knack for being at the right place at the right time and has good finishing to put chances away. He can score goals in many different ways, whether that’s by creating some space for himself to shoot off the dribble, heading in goals with his six-foot frame, or from the occasional long distance shot or acrobatic finish.
He is a reliable goal scoring threat in and around the box that defenses will have to keep track of if they don’t want to get punished.
Charlotte FC are getting a proven striker that is entering his prime years and, most importantly, fits the game model of Miguel Ramirez. Karol Świderski is an intelligent, technical player who is well-rounded and improves the entire team through his link up play when he is on the pitch.