Following an incredible opening week of play for CeCe Kizer, the senior forward and midfielder was named the National Player of the Week by the United Soccer Coaches poll. She is the first player in Ole Miss history to receive this honor.
She received the same recognition from TopDrawerSoccer, which now has her ranked as the No. 9 player in the country after becoming the university’s first ever United Soccer Coaches poll All-American in 2017. She has also been named to the 2018 MAC Hermann Trophy watch list, which is the most prestigious individual award in college soccer.
The Overland Park, Kansas, native catapulted her way back into national headlines after netting four goals and an assist in just 89 minutes of gameplay through two matches. Her production began right off the bat, as she assisted freshman Haleigh Stackpole for the first Rebel goal of the 2018 season less than two minutes after the opening kickoff against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Before leaving the pitch, she knocked in her own goal to seal the 6-0 victory over the Ragin’ Cajuns. Just two days later, Western Kentucky arrived in Oxford to take a punishing defeat at the feet of Kizer, who notched three goals in the 4-0 win for Ole Miss and recorded the second hat trick of her career at Ole Miss.
This level of play warrants national recognition, and the National Player of the Week is high praise. While a week may sound like a short period of time, only 12 players receive this award in a season of Division I women’s soccer. By the end of a season, this tends to gather a superstar cast of players that garner countless All-American nominations, National Women’s Soccer League roster spots and even U.S. Women’s National Team trials and caps.
The National Player of The Week award often sees repeats over the course of a season, and being the best player of the 2018 season thus far on a national level is a tremendous start for Kizer. Countless top-shelf players have opened takeoff seasons with this honor — most notably, 77-cap, 35-goal forward Sydney Leroux of the U.S. Women’s National Team, who was given the award in the opening week of the 2010 season for UCLA.
While Leroux competes for her second straight Women’s World Cup title next summer, Kizer will be coming off of her final college season and looking to show out in trials for the national team. A roster spot, at least on the under-23 squad, is a distinct possibility if Kizer keeps up her level of production.
Kizer and Ole Miss Women’s Soccer will resume at 6 p.m. Friday, when the Rebels face off against the 2-0 Minnesota Gophers in the Twin Cities. The home campaign will return on Sunday versus Murray State.