Standing atop one of Nepal’s highest peaks, thousands of feet above sea level, Sunny Yadav was struck by the awe-inspiring tranquility and celestial blue. Despite the shortness of breath, his mind was conquered and silenced by the panoramic view, forever etched as a memory to resonate through the years. This moment from his graduation trip, just before embarking on his journey to the United States, seemed worlds away from his current involvement in the Juice House Soccer “blend,” an unexpected chapter in his ongoing journey.
Upon meeting Juice House adviser Dr. Mingyang Liu, Sunny shared this unforgettable memory, having been in the United States for less than a year as a recent high school graduate. Dr. Liu’s introduction to Juice House broke through Sunny’s preconceptions of a mere “health” group, igniting a spark within him. The alignment of his aspiration to achieve something novel and profound with Juice House’s mission to nurture a young, vibrant, intelligent and thoughtful generation of community leaders resonated deeply. This synergy found its expression in his passion for soccer which was an integral part of his weekly exercise routine.
Sunny reflected, “My experience with Juice House soccer has been incredible. Interacting with these individuals, most of whom are postgraduates, has revealed latent interests and talents [in me] and their maturity provides invaluable insights into [my] college life.”
This journey led Sunny to lead a team of ten soccer players in 2023, orchestrating structured weekly practices and intramural competitions. He marveled at the rapid growth of the team, from a modest nine or ten members at the beginning of the year to an impressive 30 active participants within a month. Months later, the team’s ranks swelled to over 40, eventually capturing the intramural championship for the season.
The Juice House Soccer “blend” boasted a diverse mix of players from various nations and cultures. United by their passion for soccer, this diversity was harmonized into a holistic lifestyle that embraced physical and social well-being. A supportive atmosphere fostered by welcoming team leaders, enthusiastic community members and dedicated faculty/staff advisers contributed to the team’s growth and commitment.
Sunny emphasized, “This has been a source of motivation for me. Our Juice House community is dedicated to cultivating a healthy lifestyle through sports, offering a platform for faculty, staff, students and even the local community to find belonging.” For Sunny, a new immigrant, finding home in a foreign land and creating a community that embraced both international and local students, was a far-reaching dream.
Sunny expressed his aspiration, “We seek to have all members embrace Juice House’s values, showcasing the uniqueness of this team. With representation from Nepal, Africa, Korea, China, Argentina and the U.S., we extend our warm welcome to everyone on campus — faculty, staff, community members, families and students. Our aim is to leave a positive impact on the campus.”
Just as the breathtaking view atop the peak left Sunny in awe, stumbling upon the Juice House soccer field opened up a new horizon of memorable opportunities beyond his expectations. Yet, the growth and transformation he witnessed were invaluable glimpses into deeper experiences of this stage of life and the profound human impact of community-driven growth, resembling a cherished “home.”
If you or you know anyone who would be interested in participating in Juice House’s Soccer “blend,” please sign up here: https://www.juicehouse.org/join-us/ or shoot us an email at JuiceHouse@UToledo.edu.