New Challenge: Beckford’s passion for competition reignited by dream West Coast Fever signing

By December 27, 2023
BECKFORD… It is not just a dream come true, but a significant milestone in my netball career and life BECKFORD… It is not just a dream come true, but a significant milestone in my netball career and life

After assisting Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls to break a lengthy 16-year medal drought when they secured bronze at this year’s Vitality Netball World Cup in South Africa, Shanice Beckford toyed with the idea of retirement.

At that time, Beckford was convinced that she had accomplished all she set out to in a fairly successful career spanning 10 years. After all, she was also a part of three teams that won Commonwealth Games medals in 2014, 2018 and 2022, that goes along with Fast5 medals in 2013, 2017 and 2018, as well as a 2015 stint in England’s Superleague.

The only void Beckford felt as she reflected on her journey, was the fact that she didn’t parade her skills in the Australian Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) League, though she had already given up on that dream.

But as fate would have it, a one-year deal with SSN outfit West Coast Fever came at an opportune time for Beckford, who was virtually at her wits' end.

“I am still processing to be honest. The thought of playing in the SSN has been a lingering desire of mine for years, and I had given up on the idea, so I am beyond elated that this opportunity that I have been waiting for has now materialized at this point in my career,” Beckford told SportsMax.TV.

“I feel incredibly fortunate, as this opportunity comes at a critical juncture in my life. Lately, I have been struggling to find the motivation to play netball at all levels, but this signing has reignited my passion and gives me a new sense of purpose. I am grateful for this saving grace and will do everything in my power to make the most of this incredible opportunity,” she noted.

“It is not just a dream come true, but a significant milestone in my netball career and life. The prospect of playing in the SNL has always been a driving force that has kept me motivated and inspired me to become a better player. This is a new chapter and phase in my journey, and I am ready to embrace it,” a beaming Beckford added.

The talented goal-attack will join Sunshine Girls teammates, ace shooter Jhaniele Fowler, and defender Kadie-Ann Dehaney at the Perth-based franchise for the 2024 season.

Besides the fact that it is an opportunity to add to her accomplishments, Beckford is well aware of the responsibility that comes with her new contract. It is a responsibility that she embraces but she is also focused on her commitment to her body.

“I am taking the same steps that everyone does while in a professional environment. It is important to be training at a high level, but it is also equally important to make sure you are taking care of your body so that you can be fit to perform at the highest level.

“So, for this new chapter in my life, it is almost like a whole new ball game. Although I am unable to join my team in Australia at the moment, I am keeping myself physically fit by following the necessary training programs, and mentally, I am working on getting my head in right space, basically a renewed mindset, and just preparing myself for the challenges that lie ahead,” Beckford shared.

To say that the 28-year-old has become one of world netball’s most influential and best performed goal attacks, would be an understatement. With a significant workload and craftiness on court, a deadly accurate shot, and a cheerful personality, it is safe to say that Beckford will have little issues fitting into the new environment.

In fact, it would come as no surprise if the Dan Ryan-coached 2022 champions were to extend Beckford’s contract at the end of the season. But for now, the 5ft 9in tall goal-attack is focused on the immediate task at hand.

“I'm feeling a bit nervous and anxious, but also very excited to bring my years of experience to this new opportunity and to continue learning, as there's always room for improvement. I have the right tools to play at a high level. So, my overall goal is to make the most of this new challenge so that I can continue to grow as both a person and a player,” Beckford declared.

“I just want to maintain an open mind and be willing to embrace new ideas and perspectives. Consistency is also crucial as it helps to build momentum and produce results. Hard work is a given, but being open to learning new ways of doing things is equally important. Finally, it's also about having a great season and more importantly, having fun while doing it, building strong relationships, and making meaningful progress,” she ended.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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