“It was like, seven years,” said Bradley senior Koch Bar. “Since I came here (United States), I never went home. It’s tough to go back there.”
Bar moved from his native country of South Sudan to the U.S.A. in 2013. But during the summer of 2019, Koch took 20 hour, five-plane trip back home to see his family for the first time in nearly seven years.
“It was hard for me to transition from Africa to over here,” said Bar. “And I think to stay here for that long without seeing my family, just talk to them, and to have the chance to go over there and just see them in person, it’s wonderful.”
The time spent back at home in South Sudan gave Koch great perspective. He says seeing his friends and family helped motivate him to have a big senior year.
“It gives me a little drive when I came back here, like you know, ‘yeah, I got something to fight for now,” said Bar. “So it helped me a lot, it helped me mentally. It’s awesome to go and feel the love that I got from my family.”
“I know it meant a lot to him, he came back refreshed. I think that’s why he’s really having a good senior year,” said Bradley head coach Brian Wardle. “You get re-energized when you go home and you remember your ‘why.’ Why you’re doing this.”
Koch is part of a big family, and his main objective is to help provide for his loved ones once his time as a student athlete as Bradley is over.
“I know exactly what I need to do now so I can put myself in a better situation so I can help my family,” said Bar. “I’m the oldest of my mom, so all my little brothers and sisters are looking out for me. So they are trying to follow my footsteps, so now I know there is a lot of stuff on my shoulders, you know. And just to put myself in a successful situation so I can help them.”