Tucson, AZ (KOLD) - It's been four days since the Connelly clan returned from Vancouver and the patriarch admits that he still hasn't recovered. Which is to be expected.
Brian Connelly, a Salpointe grad and Tucson realtor, took family and friends on a not-so-whirlwind two week Women's World Cup vacation. Along the way, they enjoyed the weather, made some friends, and watched a lot of soccer. Oh, and they also became the finest Arizona representatives since Grand Canyon state natives Sydney Leroux and Julie Johnston.
A picture snapped by USA Today's Michael Chow showed Team USA celebrating heartily after one of Carli Lloyd's three goals. But it's hard not to see the Arizona state flag in the background, held up by Connelly's daughter Kate, and two friends, Lexi Bishopp, and Sammy Peebles.
"When we brought out the Arizona flag," said Connelly, "it was really identifiable. Brought a lot of people from Arizona out of the woodwork."
The Connelly's got the idea to bring the flag from family friends who had done the same last year for the Men's World Cup in Brazil. But while that tour didn't get much publicity, this year it got a bunch thanks in large part to the fact that the Connellys were seated eye level next to the goal.
"We got to our seats," said Connelly. "They were kind of low on the field. We were wondering if we were going to be able to see any of the players up close."
Boy did they ever. When Carli Lloyd went on her three goal tear, she did so right in front of them. Cue the flag.
"I was just waving it around trying to get everybody in Arizona to see it," said Sammy Peebles, 11. Mission accomplished and then some. Not only did folks in Arizona see it, anyone watching around the world saw it too.
"It was pretty unreal, the whole atmosphere," said Lexi Bishopp, 14. "It felt like you were apart of it."
The Connellys, Bishopps, and Peebles are all self proclaimed soccer nuts having been raised on a healthy diet of Tanque Verde soccer. The experience of watching the US women win the Women's World Cup would have been enough for them. The attention that's come as result of the flag? That just makes it even sweeter.
"I've had so many people ask me, 'Were you there?' said Lexi Bishop, 14. "I say, 'Did you see the Arizona flag?' They say, 'Yeah.' That's me. It's just like oh my gosh, that's insane. Way to represent Arizona."
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