Keane takes unique road to ALW berth

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

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

Instead, then-coach Joe Montemurro managed to land Keane's experienced compatriot Beverly Yanez to fill the final vacant spot and the young forward was left heartbroken.

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

It is the culmination of a journey that has taken her across Europe and included Champions League action, a Copa de la Reina final and a whole lot of goals.

Following her City heartbreak, Keane had a stint back in the USA before heading to German club FF USV Jena, where she quickly had to deal with the high standards of the Bundesliga.

"Those girls are technical and ripped and huge, so strong and physical. It was a big slap in my face when I got there," she told AAP.

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

A league title and Champions League football followed.

"We made it through the group stage and we ended up playing PSG," she said.

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

"That whole Champions League experience - walking out on the field, them playing the Champions League song - unforgettable."

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

They did not win a game for the first half of her debut season, drawing nine - but turned things around after Christmas.

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

"We beat Real Madrid twice, we beat Atletico and we got to the final against Barcelona.

"We got smashed but to make it to the final, with my small club, it was absolutely amazing."

Keane admitted leaving Huelva was a difficult 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 starred against Melbourne Victory in United's upset 1-0 opening round win.

Now, she is eyeing her first ALW goal when United play the Wellington Phoenix at Sky Stadium on Saturday.

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