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R1 maybe different on his controller. Look at your control scheme in the options menu and look for "SWT", aka "switch". Also it's not The soul gauge, but the bars on the bottom of your side of the screen if you have a character to switch to indicates when you can switch. Each switch cost one bar, and the bars refills over time.
And you don't look for your bars online, whatever the bars your oppn have, is the connection that person has with you. SC4 is played via P2P connection, instead of client side-server side. Which means that it's best to play people near you (and are of 5/5 bars), so both players will have reduced lag.