Western United has added Keiwa Hieda to its Liberty A-League Women roster for the 2023/24 season, with the Japanese winger set to become one of the most exciting players in the competition.
Joining on a scholarship contract, Hieda has shown her supreme quality after breaking out in Japan, moving to Calder United in NPLW Victoria having top scored in VPLW last season at Preston Lions.
The 23-year-old has carried that form into the top division with Calder, scoring nine goals heading in the regular season to help guide the team into the finals.
Her dominance also continued in the NIKE F.C. Cup where she won the Teresa Deas Medal for the player of the match as Calder defeated FC Bulleen Lions in the final.
Making her first venture into professional football, Hieda is set to bring an abundance of enthusiasm and positivity into the squad.
“I’m really excited to play for Western United. Speed and dribbling is my strong points and I will take advantage of my strengths. I can’t wait to play for Western United,” she said.
“I learned a lot of tactics from the coaches at Calder, and it’s really reassuring to be able to play with them again. I know a lot of teammates and understand their playing style, so I want to communicate with them more and win the title together.”
Western United Head Coach Mark Torcaso hailed the continued impact of the Western-Calder United partnership and said Hieda will be like no other player in the competition.
“Keiwa is in that rare breed of player that plays every game like it’s her first while playing every game like it’s her last at the same time,” he said.
“She has such an appetite and joy for the game, always playing with a smile on her face and that is represented in the way she plays on the pitch. Daring, cheeky, brilliant skill and an outstanding desire to work for the team off the ball.
“We identified her as a big talent to bring into the Calder system and see if we could bring her in at Western, and she has shown she is more than at the level. Our fans are in for a treat with Keiwa, she is so unique and will be a joy to watch for us this season.”
Hieda will fit seamlessly into the squad with familiarity alongside players and coaching staff who have been part of Calder United throughout the 2023 season.
While her focus will be fully on the upcoming NPLW Finals campaign with Calder, Hieda will be gearing up to start pre-season with the remainder of the squad in early September.
Western United 2023/24 Liberty A-League Women contracted players
Silver Bell Morris