Champions met Champions over the last six days on The Farm as Stanford Athletics, 19-time defending Learfield Sports Directors' Cup winners, hosted reigning Serie A (Italy) kings Juventus ahead of the club's July 31 Guinness International Champions Cup opener against Everton at San Francisco's AT&T Park.
"As a coaching staff it was incredible to watch one of the best teams in the world train and to get an inside look on every facet of their preparation," said Stanford men's soccer head coach Jeremy Gunn. "To be able to spend time talking with one of the top managers in the world gave us invaluable insight. Our players were also able to see some of the world's top players in practice and see first-hand the training methods and hard work that it takes to reach such a high level in the sport."
"The whole experience was more than you could wish for as far as knowledge sharing and on an inspirational level," Gunn added.
Wednesday night's match, the first of the Bianconeri's ("White-Blacks") Jeep US Tour 2013, finished 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation. Juventus would fall 6-5 on penalty kicks, giving the match result to Everton. The match also served as the conclusion of Juventus' time in the Bay Area.
Much of the club's Bay Area experience took place at Stanford over the five days leading up to the match. The Bianconeri, managed by Antonio Conte and with a roster featuring such world-class names as Gigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo, Leonardo Bonucci and Carlos Tevez, among others, trained at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium and took in the unmatched scene of Stanford University.
The five-day visit was also a valuable experience for the Stanford men's soccer program, as Gunn and his staff, along with numerous players were able to observe one of the world's top clubs at work as well as watch many of the world's top players ply their trade on the Cagan Stadium field. Gunn and assistants John Smith, Mike Graczyk and Nick Kirchhof had the opportunity to meet with Conte, one of the top managers in the game, and his staff, discussing training techniques and regimens as well as strategy tips.
The club also had the chance to tour campus and see Stanford landmarks such as Memorial Church, The Quad and Hoover Tower for the first time in addition to exploring the Cardinal's world-class athletic facilities.
One of the highlights of the club's time on The Farm came Tuesday when Pirlo and Bonucci were introduced to "football americano" on the Stanford practice field. Clad in Stanford jerseys and helmets, the players put their hands and arms to work for a change as Bonucci tossed passes to Pirlo under the instruction of Stanford football quarterbacks/wide receivers coach Mike Sanford. The visit ended with the players returning to a more familiar style by booting field goals for the cameras.