Cece Kizer was traded to the Houston Dash by Kansas City on Wednesday in a move that she says came as a surprise.

While Kizer began her NWSL career with the Dash, she’d played the last two seasons with the Kansas City Current. Kizer is a native of Kansas, having been born in Overland Park. In 35 matches with the Current, Kizer had 13 goals and three assists.

In return for Kizer, the Current received Nichelle Price.

Following the trade announcement, Kizer took to social media to express her disappointment and frustration.

“There has been so much excitement about not only this team but me finally being back home,” Kizer wrote. “I can’t even put into words the joy I have felt playing in front of family/friends every home game. It was always a dream of mine to represent my city at this level and it breaks my heart it comes to an abrupt end.

“This isn’t something I asked for or expected. No conversation this could happen. Nothing. My fiancé and I have a home here, we have a life off the pitch, and now we have a week to pack it all up & say our goodbyes. It hurts this happened after I expressed my desire to be apart of more KC history, but thank you for the last year & a half.”

Kizer isn’t the first Current player to be traded without their knowledge. Last year, Lynn Williams was traded to Gotham FC during the NWSL draft, which came as a shock to many – including Williams.

Cece Kizer and Addisyn Merrick are on their way home to Kansas City after Racing Louisville FC agreed to trade the pair to the Current.

Both Kizer and Merrick are originally from the Kansas City area.

In exchange, Racing will receive $150,000 in allocation money, international roster slots in 2022 and 2023 as well as up to an additional $25,000 in incentives from the Kansas City Current, the club announced Thursday.

Kizer and Merrick have been with Louisville since its inception. They were selected during the 2020 NWSL expansion draft.

“We would like to thank Addie and Cece, who joined us from the start and worked hard to help us launch Racing Louisville,” club president James O’Connor said in a statement. “We wish them every success as they continue their careers closer to home.”

Through 26 appearances with Racing, Kizer has seven goals – including the first goal in club history. She also scored the club’s first goal in this year’s Challenge Cup.

Merrick, meanwhile, has made seven appearances this year after missing the 2021 season with an injury.

“Both players have asked to be back closer to their families, and in these cases we always want the best for the player,” Racing head coach Kim Björkegren said in a statement. “We thank both for what they’ve done for the club.”

Louisville has a 2-3-2 record so far this season and next will face Angel City FC on Saturday, while Kansas City is 1-4-2 and next goes up against Gotham FC on Saturday.

Racing Louisville and Kansas City played to a 1-1 draw in the teams’ NWSL Challenge Cup opener Friday night at Lynn Family Stadium.

Cece Kizer put Racing Louisville on the board first in the 20th minute, picking up the ball in her own half before finding teammate Jessica McDonald. From the flank, McDonald picked out Kizer, who split the Kansas City defense and slotted it home for a 1-0 lead.

With the goal, Kizer picked up right where she left off last year, her first with expansion club Racing Louisville. The forward finished the 2021 regular season sixth on the NWSL scoring list with five goals.

The Current continued to push for an equalizer, which finally came in the 78th minute. Lynn Williams dispossessed Louisville’s defender and set up Addie McCain, who tied the game 1-1 after subbing in for Sam Mewis.

The 1-1 scoreline held despite a series of late-game chances from Kansas City.

Next up: Next Friday, Racing Louisville host the Houston Dash, while the Kansas City Current travel to Chicago to take on the Red Stars.

In the same game U.S. legend Carli Lloyd concluded her final NWSL regular season, young Racing Louisville FC attacker Cece Kizer put the finishing touches on a breakout year.

Both scored in Sunday’s 1-1 draw between Racing Louisville and NJ/NY Gotham FC. Lloyd buried a header to give Gotham the lead in the 53rd minute, only to be matched by Kizer’s penalty kick 16 minutes later for her seventh career goal in lavender.

Kizer, a 2019 second-round draft pick of the Houston Dash, joined Racing Louisville last year through the NWSL Expansion Draft. The 24-year-old has been a bright spot in the club’s first year, finishing the regular season tied for sixth on the NWSL scoring list with five goals.

“I look to Cece as a potential national team player and I’ve told her that, hands down, so I’m looking forward to her future,” said Louisville interim coach Mario Sanchez.

Kizer hears the praise and is channeling it into her play.

“I’ve heard it from a variety of the coaching staff, and it’s just a pleasure to know that they have that confidence in me and that they can see that for me in my career,” she said.

“Obviously it’s a goal to make the national team and be in the pool, in the talks and all that. I’m going to keep working, take a couple weeks off here and then get ready and get back at it in the offseason and get ready to come out here and keep my name in the loop next year.”

Kizer has been in the mix for the United States women’s national team. In August 2019, she was named to the U23 team for the Nordic Cup; prior to that, she attended a U23 training camp in 2017 and again in 2018.

She’s only helped her case by showcasing her versatility for Louisville this season. After playing as the high nine earlier in the year, she moved out wide and later shifted back to the center as an attacking midfielder. Taking on a variety of roles has helped the former Ole Miss star develop different sides of her game. Ultimately, she prefers her current central midfield position.

“I like to find those pockets and get assists, finding people through and also to keep working on finishing,” she said.

With her penalty-kick goal on Sunday, Kizer passed Ebony Salmon as Racing Louisville’s leading scorer through its first season.

“I wasn’t surprised as she stepped up and buried it,” Sanchez said of Sunday’s goal. “I mean, there’s no question you know that that ball is going in.”

Even with Kizer’s success in front of net this season, the Louisville coaching staff thinks she can become a more polished finisher.

“It’s good to know that the coaching staff and Mario see potential in me,” Kizer said. “I’m just going to keep working and improve different areas of my game.”

Kizer has taken major steps in the last month, not only because she’s had the opportunity to settle into the central midfield but also because the expansion team has finally clicked. Louisville, despite missing the playoffs as the second-to-last team in the league, went unbeaten in their final three matches — a record streak for the new franchise.

If Kizer and the team can maintain that rate of improvement through the offseason, she will be one of the top attackers to watch in 2022.

Jessa Braun is an editorial intern for Just Women’s Sports. She is also the Head of North American Content for the Women’s Sports Alliance. You can find her on Twitter @jessabraun.