Keane takes unique road to ALW berth

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If good things come to those who wait, Hannah Keane has found even better things for those who go their own way.

Six years ago, the American was a talented university graduate on the verge of signing as one of Melbourne City’s internationals.

Instead, then-coach Joe Montemurro managed to sign Keane’s experienced compatriot Beverly Yanez to fill the last vacant spot and the young striker was left heartbroken.

But in 2022, Keane is back as one of Western United’s first signings.

It was the culmination of a journey that took her across Europe and included Champions League action, a Copa de la Reina final and plenty of goals.

After her heartbreak at City, Keane returned to the United States before heading to German club FF USV Jena, where she soon came up against the high standards of the Bundesliga.

“These girls are technical, ripped and huge, so strong and physical. It gave me a big slap in the face when I got there,” she told AAP.

Next, Keane headed to Braga in Portugal, where she more easily grabbed the ball and the goals flowed.

A league title and Champions League football followed.

“We went through the group stage and ended up playing against PSG,” she said.

“We lost 7-0 the first game, but then we went to Paris and played them and we equalized 0-0, so we took that as a huge win.

“All that Champions League experience – going out on the pitch, them playing the Champions League song – unforgettable.”

Still keen to test herself in a top European league, Keane headed to Spanish club Sporting de Huelva.

They won no games in the first half of his first season, drawing nine games – but changed things after Christmas.

“We won a lot of rounds in the Spanish Cup,” she said.

“We beat Real Madrid twice, we beat Atletico and we reached the final against Barcelona.

“We got crushed but to reach the final, with my little club, it was absolutely incredible.”

Keane admitted leaving Huelva was a tough call – but she had unfinished business in Australia.

“I’ve always wanted to come here and take everything I learned there and bring it here and hopefully do well,” she said.

So far, things are going to plan.

Keane featured against Melbourne Victory in United’s 1-0 first-round win.

Now she is aiming for her first ALW goal when United take on Wellington Phoenix at Sky Stadium on Saturday.

United will reunite with Tyla-Jay Vlajnic after the full-back failed to receive his international transfer clearance in time to face Victory.

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