STANFORD -- U.S. national team players have become honorary members of Nerd Nation after one week of World Cup training at Stanford.
A handful of players and coach Jurgen Klinsmann gushed Wednesday about their time on campus.
"It's cool to be among all these 'smartheads,' " said Terrence Boyd, a German who plays for Rapid Vienna. "It's nice to see the college since I didn't experience it myself."
The players, some who represent major European clubs, eat lunch in a Stanford cafeteria.
"I feel like I am in a high school movie," Boyd, 23, said of asking students if there is space for him to sit.
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman, who turned professional in 2000 instead of attending college, described the setting as perfect. After interacting with students in the cafeteria or the school's weight room, Beckerman, 32, and others have adjusted to campus life.
"We feel like we're Stanford students right now," the Real Salt Lake star said.
Klinsmann courted Stanford for its pristine facilities and the Peninsula climate, which has cooperated after last week's brief heat wave.
"Logistically we couldn't be in a better place," he said Wednesday. "The climate is dry and fresh and we can push the guys. That's what this camp is about: to push them to their limits because we have to build the foundation to the World Cup."
When Stanford men's coach Jeremy Gunn learned months ago that the United States would play Azerbaijan on Tuesday at Candlestick Park, he hoped the Caucasus country might look to scrimmage the Cardinal for preparation.
Gunn built room in the spring schedule for such a possibility. He was astounded to learn the Americans would put up tents on campus instead.
The Cardinal played against Team USA last weekend in two scrimmages.
"We were careful not going into tackles too hard so they could leave unscathed," senior defender Austin Meyer of Santa Rosa said.
Gunn, who has the Cardinal on the rise as he heads into his third year at Stanford, could tell how much the experience motivated his players.
"It doesn't get any better," Gunn said.
The feeling is shared by the U.S. contingent that ends its stay Monday.
Icelander Aron Johannsson figured he had landed in something resembling heaven when arriving this week.
"I am not used to such good weather," the forward for Dutch club AZ Alkmaar said.
Wait until the players visit foggy San Francisco.
"We'll discuss that daily," the coach said. "It's part of our work. I don't have a specific date in mind."
He also sidestepped questions about whether he would name the team at one time or incrementally.
Klinsmann emphasized that while his staff is evaluating the players the major focus is on playing Ghana, a country that has defeated the United States in the past two World Cups.
The Ghana game is all the more important with Group G also including European powers Germany and Portugal. If the United States were to lose its opener, it would take nothing short of a miracle to advance to the knockout round.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.
U.S. men's national team vs. Azerbaijan, at Candlestick Park, 7 p.m. ESPN2