Best yet to come from D.C. United’s Hamid

Bill Hamid in action for D.C. United. (Don Ryan/AP)

Name: Bill Hamid
Born: Nov. 25, 1990, in Annandale, Va.
Position: Goalkeeper
Pro club: D.C. United

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Why is he in the news?

Hamid has been one of Major League Soccer’s best goalkeepers this season, and the gifted 23-year-old was recently voted to the league’s All-Star team. He’ll be a backup in net for the squad facing German powerhouse Bayern Munich on Aug. 6 in Portland. Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando, 35, will start.

Currently in his fifth season with D.C. United, Hamid made history on July 20 when he started in a match against Chivas USA, becoming the youngest goalkeeper to reach 100 games in MLS.

And while Hamid—who came close to earning a spot on the U.S. World Cup roster—is already in the habit of smashing records and lifting his team in crucial moments, he’s still developing his skills. Pundits have pegged him as the future goalkeeper for the U.S. national team, and if his recent success continues, Hamid could be headed to Europe. He’s spoken openly about his desire to play for one of the big clubs someday—“a big Premiership team like Tottenham, Arsenal or Chelsea.” In short, he’s someone to watch out for.

He’s special because

Hamid has had incredible success for a goalkeeper so young. At 23, he’s still years away from reaching his prime. And while his relative immaturity has been blamed for an occasional lack of confidence in his decision-making, Hamid’s shot-stopping skills are nothing short of exceptional.

Club career

Hamid joined the D.C. United Academy in January 2007, and on Sept. 2, 2009, he became the first player from the academy to sign directly with the first team.

He made his debut with the club on May 5, 2010, in a game against the Kansas City Wizards. The Black-and-Red won 2–1, and Hamid, ever a record-breaker, became the youngest goalkeeper in MLS to win a regular-season game. At 19 years and 161 days old, Hamid nabbed the record previously held by his hero, U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard.

In his first season with D.C. United, Hamid recorded one shutout, 20 saves and a 1.25 goals against average. He earned the starting job in 2011, but his breakout season came in 2012: Hamid had eight shutouts, 88 saves and a 1.03 goals against average. His 77.9 save percentage that season was tops amongst all goalkeepers in MLS, and was a D.C. United single-season record.

D.C. United’s 2013 season was objectively terrible—the team’s 3-24-7 record was the worst in MLS history (no team had ever won fewer than four games). But while Hamid struggled in a few games, he still managed to record four shutouts in 25 starts. The team has reversed their fortunes this year. They’re currently sitting near the top of the standings, and they’ve notched four road wins so far this season, whereas last year they were winless on the road. Hamid currently has a save percentage of 73.9, starting 15 games and earning four clean sheets.

International career

Hamid trained with the U-18 and U-20 U.S. national teams and was named to the roster of the senior men’s national team in August 2011. That year, Hamid would be a backup on the bench—behind starter Tim Howard—for five friendlies.

Hamid earned his first cap on January 21, 2012 in a match against Venezuela, a 1–0 victory for the U.S. A year later, he was a member of the squad that won the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

His most famous moment

Hamid earned a red card in an MLS Cup playoff match versus the New York Red Bulls on Nov. 8, 2012. In the 69th minute, he took down New York’s Kenny Cooper and was ejected from the game. The Red Bulls received a penalty kick but missed, and D.C. United went on to win 1–0. When Hamid learned of the victory, he ripped off his shirt and began pounding his chest, shouting, “You can’t hold us back!” When reporters asked him to expand on his chanting, he yelled: “They can’t hold us back!” This phrase became the unofficial slogan of D.C. United fans and even spawned the hashtag #TCHUB. The Screaming Eagles, a supporters group, had the slogan emblazoned on a team scarf, which was presented to Hamid the following season.

Here’s an interesting fact

Hamid has admitted that as a kid, his email address handle was “YoungTimHoward@…” He’s since switched to a new account.

He said it

“I take a lot of time out of my day just to continue watching stuff on goalkeeping, watching YouTube, documentaries. You can definitely say I’m obsessed with my craft. If it’s something I could have studied in school, I definitely would have tried.”

What they’re saying about him

“I’ve talked about it before—there are joys to this job, and one of them is watching these guys grow. It’s very rewarding for those of us that have been around to watch a guy like Bill Hamid grow from being a young kid to learning to be a pro. I know it means a lot for him to be on the All-Star team. You could see it when we told him, and he certainly deserves it.”—D.C. United coach Ben Olsen

“Bill, he’s the future of U.S. soccer.”—D.C. United forward Eddie Johnson

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