GRACE Beasley’s journey back to football started when she was still living in America.

While playing college basketball for Northern Arizona University, the powerful guard started early conversations with Melbourne Football Club.

What began as informal chats quickly turned into the 24-year-old signing on as a Demon for the 2024 AFLW season and making the move from Arizona back to Melbourne.

“It was very exciting,” Beasley told Melbourne Media.

“It was about this time last year that I kind of met up with [Todd] and Mick…and it went really well, I absolutely loved it.

“The signing was a bit surreal over in the States, I didn't have any family around me or anything over there, but it was amazing.

“It was a really cool experience, it felt very surreal, still feels a little surreal but loving it.”

Beasley grew up playing two sports, with her passion for footy as strong as her passion for basketball.

But, like many, she reached a point where she was forced to make a choice.    

“I played [footy] when I was about ten years old,” Beasley told Melbourne Media.

“I played basketball and footy growing up and I had the same love for [footy as I did basketball].

“Then it got to the point where I had to pick one and basketball was the one I picked.

I followed that journey all the way through, but I always knew I'd come back to footy at some point.

“I didn't know when and I thought maybe sooner than 24, but I'm really happy and it feels like it's the right time and the right place to be.”

After solely committing to basketball for several years, playing across three colleges in the United States, Beasley made the long journey back to Australia in May.

And there was no wasting any time once she arrived, getting stuck straight into life as an AFLW player.

The new Demon credits the help of the club’s leaders in getting her settled into the new environment and reconnected with her old passion.

“I would say Hanksy [Tyla Hanks] has been huge, communication wise, and Kate Hore, I feel like they've been huge,” Beasley said.

“I’m in a lot of drills with them, being in the midfield area, and their communication is helping me learn and grow.

“[They’re] great leaders and they've been so welcoming to me.

“I’m just trying to be positive and grow and find the love for the game more than putting pressure on myself at this point.”

The 170cm guard boasts a wealth of athletic talent, her aggressive play and dynamic movement setting her up as a tenacious midfielder with plenty of room for growth across the ground. 

“I think it's a bit open ended at the moment [with my role],” Beasley said.

I would say the type of player [I am], I definitely like to get in amongst it, head down, rough, not afraid to get on the ground.

“I’m also just trying to get my love back for the game and still learn the rules, which has been a lot of fun, a lot of learning curves.

"The aerobic [fitness] is definitely different from basketball to football, so, I'm noticing that very quickly.

“Mick’s been a huge help, I've done an extra running session with him and can hopefully continue that.

“I couldn't be happier, and I think they'll get me to where I want.”