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Ebony Salmon’s exit from Racing Louisville is a surprise given the England striker’s emphatic start with the club.

Just one minute into her NWSL debut, Salmon slotted home a stunning finish, opening up her scoring account stateside.

Yet just more than one year to the date since Salmon’s buzzy introduction to the NWSL, Racing Louisville announced that Salmon had been traded to the Houston Dash.

Racing will receive $150,000 in allocation money for Salmon in 2022 and an additional $25,000 in 2023. Louisville could receive up to $15,000 more in allocation money this year if Salmon meets performance-based criteria while with the Dash.

“We thank Ebony for all of her contributions here in Louisville and see this as an opportunity for her to get the minutes she’s seeking,” Racing coach Kim Björkegren said in a statement.

As Björkegren alluded to in the trade announcement, Salmon struggled to get on the pitch for Louisville during the 2022 season.

Given her prolific breakout year, which included six goals and one assist across 20 matches played, many expected Salmon to be a mainstay of the Racing attack, but that hasn’t been the case.

“I think when you look at the minutes Ebony had last year to this year, the evolvement of the squad, you have a World Cup winner [in Jessica McDonald], you’ve got a world-class player in Nadia Nadim, you’ve got a young player who’s filled with enthusiasm and wants to play. I think when a situation like that arises, it’s okay, what’s best for everyone?” said Racing Louisville president James O’Connor, who added that the trade could allow the club to sign new talent while getting Salmon on the field elsewhere.

Salmon opened up to Theo Lloyd-Hughes of The Striker Texas about her struggle to get playing time, telling the publication that she didn’t feel the minutes decision was transparent.

“There were questions to be asked there, and I asked questions multiple times and didn’t really get the answer that I wanted or a definitive answer that I agreed with, which was frustrating. But then you have to agree with the coach’s opinion,” Salmon said. “I wanted to stick it out and give it a chance to prove myself. I think I was at a point where I’d kind of given it long enough. I’m not going to play here. I need to go somewhere where I am going to play and where I’m valued.”

The 21-year-old went on to say that Björkegren didn’t talk to her about her lack of minutes. Instead, she claims, she had to address him about the issue and after the trade was initiated, communication between the two ended.

Despite the tough break at Louisville, Salmon is still eager to make her mark on the NWSL and prove her ability on the field.

“I think I’ve still got a lot to do out here before I think about going back to England,” Salmon told The Striker Texas. “I’m taking my anger from not playing in Louisville and I’m going to show what I can do here when I get on the pitch.”