CHESHIRE, Conn. (WTNH)– The big apple hosted a big party for the Women’s National Soccer Team. While Alyssa Naeher was heading up the Canyon of Heroes, some of her family was watching it all from a retirement home in Cheshire.
Two aunts and the grandmother of Team USA goalie Alyssa Naeher spotted the world champion on her float in the ticker tape parade. Alyssa is a sports superstar, but at the Elim Park retirement community in Cheshire, Grandma Helen Taylor is the celebrity, for good reason.
“I taught her how to throw a ball,” said Taylor.
Naeher grew up in Stratford, played soccer at the Christian Heritage School in Trumbull, and helped the US Women’s national team bring home a 4th world cup championship.
“We’re just so excited,” said Alyssa’s aunt, BettyAnn Hardy. “It’s beyond what anyone could ever imagine happening to someone in your own family.”
“It’s just been unbelievable really, and we are just so proud of her and her accomplishments,” said her other aunt, MaryLou Greer. “She’s worked so hard for this and she really deserves this.”
This is definitely an historic moment, because this is the first time a women’s sports team has ever gotten two ticker tape parades, and as Alyssa Naeher’s relatives are quick to point out, Alyssa has been a part of both.
She was the backup goalie in 2015. This time, she was the starter. Four years as the world champion has not changed Alyssa, though. She still comes to to visit.
“She loves her grandma, and every time she can get to Connecticut she comes to see her,” said Hardy.
Web Extra: Alyssa’s Grandma, Helen Taylor, talks about her granddaughter
“Her granddaughter’s been here many times before,” Elim Park’s Chief Financial Officer Zell Gaston. “We see her on a regular basis and she’s brought previous medals here and showed them to us here, so we’re just so proud and excited for her.”
So Elim Park hosted watch parties for both the championship game and the ticker tape parade, with grandma front and center of course.
“I’m getting all kinds of attention and I don’t think I’ve done anything but be a grandmother,” Taylor said.
Alyssa’s parents and twin sister were not at the viewing party because they were actually in the parade, on a float. We couldn’t spot them with all the cameras pointing at the players, but we’re told they will all be back to visit grandma Helen very soon.