In 2019, Bill Hamid enjoyed his best
season in goal for D.C. United since he was named the 2014 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year.
He tied for the MLS lead with a career-high 14 shutouts and finished with a 1.21 goals-against average, third in the league behind LAFC's Tyler Miller (1.00) and Portland's Steve Clark (1.04).
But Hamid, who has six U.S. caps, was never called up for the national team by new coach Gregg Berhalter in 2019. It wasn't until the first camp of 2020 that Hamid got a call-up.
It was a surprise that Hamid wasn't one of the four keepers called into the 2019 January camp, Berhalter's first camp, and he didn't mince words.
“I believe in my ability," he said at MLS's Media Day in Los Angeles. "I saw the four they called in. I’m going to just keep it real with you: I feel like I’m better than all four of them.”
But Hamid said he was in touch with Berhalter and his staff in 2019 when D.C. United finished the season with five straight shutouts.
“There were a couple of times when I spoke to Gregg," Hamid said at the national team camp in Bradenton, Florida. "There were a couple of times where [assistant coach] Nico [Estevez] came to our training sessions to observe, one of the assistant coaches. He told me to stay patient, and keep working. He told me certain things he wanted me to work on and I just kept plugging away. Thankfully, defensively as a unit, we had a good showing last year and I think that worked in my favor a little bit. Now I’ve just come in here and my goal is to do what I do, and like he said, be a leader.”
At 29, Hamid is the second oldest player in the Bradenton camp behind Sean Johnson, who has been a rival in the U.S. goal for a decade.
“The conversation that we had prior to the camp was based around coming in and being a leader, using my experience to come in and just marshal the group," he said. "He let me know that it was going to be a young group prior to the camp so I knew what to expect. Coming in and meeting all these guys, great players, doing well for their clubs, young players, and a good amount of players that are eligible for Olympic qualifying. It’s about us getting obviously fit and continuing to build that process with the senior team, but then helping that younger group to prepare for the qualifying, which begins in March.”
Hamid, who made his MLS debut in May 2010, was re-signed by D.C. United for the 2020 season following his permanent transfer from Danish club FC Mitdjylland. He spent just half a season with the Wolves in 2018, playing one game in their championship season, before returning to D.C. on loan.
“[It was an] amazing experience at Mitdjylland, on and off the field," he said. "I learned a lot. I learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about football. Different styles of play, different formations of play. How to affect the game as a goalkeeper in the back, not only with my voice but also how to build out of the back too, in their 3-4-3 and 3-5-2 systems. So I learned a lot, and we were champions also, so it was a good experience, memories that I’ll take forever."
Since early in his MLS career, Hamid has had a reputation as a spectacular shot-blocker and vocal leader in the back but not a great passer out of the back.
“I’m not out here to convince the fans and the media that I’m the best passer in the country," he said. "I’m out here to help my team, whatever team it is, whether it’s D.C. United or the United States men's national team, first and foremost keep a shutout and do whatever it takes to get results.”