Feature: Bill Hamid

Imagine being eight years old and going to your first D.C. United game with your father. You look out onto the pitch and see Jeff Agoos, Marco Etchevery, John Harkes and Ben Olsen dominating any team that dares enter RFK.

Fast forward 11 years. Now you get to play on that same field where you watched history unfold as a child; now you get to put on those same colors as your heroes did just years earlier. That is exactly what happened to D.C. Untied goalkeeper Bill Hamid.

“I think ‘98 was probably my first game with my father,” recalled Hamid. “Ever since then, my parents would raise money from their jobs and they would find a way for me, and two of my cousins that lived with me growing up who were around the same age, to go to games.”

By the time Hamid was eight years old, he was already singly-focused on being a goalkeeper. But, this wasn’t always the case.

“My first year of soccer, I was a forward,” revealed Hamid. “I was the leading goalscorer in the league.”

Not only was he the leading scorer, but he was a year younger than all the other five year-olds in his soccer league. That next year, though, his team’s goalkeeper moved with his family, and the rest is history—well, history in the making.

“I played my first year of soccer on the field, then that was it,” said Hamid.

Consider it a fate, consider it destiny, or as Hamid puts it, “they just threw the most athletic person in there.” Whatever the reason the talented youngster began protecting the net, D.C. United is lucky he did.

On November 2, 2009, Bill Hamid signed with the Black-and-Red as its first homegrown player at age 18. The promising homegrown talent made MLS history on May 5, 2010, when he became the youngest goalkeeper to win a League contest in a 2-1 win over Kansas City in front of United’s home crowd. In breaking the record, Hamid surpassed his goalkeeping role model.

“Tim Howard,” Hamid stated matter-of-factly when asked which goalkeeper he looks up to. “It’s amazing. Timmy is a very down to earth guy… He is definitely somebody I look up to.”

Just earlier this month, Hamid had the chance to train and play with Howard when he was called up to the United States Men’s National Team for training camp ahead of a friendly against Germany at RFK Stadium on June 2. Although Hamid aims to model himself after Howard on the field, he has a different set of role models off the pitch.

“I look up to my father,” said Hamid. “Most of all, I look up to God. My father and God really, that’s it.”

Using his father and God as role model, Hamid has set goals for himself as a person and as an elite goalkeeper on the rise.

“I want to just continue finding success with this club,” said Hamid, “continuing the joy it brought me as a kid, and trying to give some of the little kids the same success.”

On a more individual level, though, Hamid recognizes what is takes to bring his team success. Fourteen matches into the season, the talented, young star has accumulated several accolades already. Hamid won Save of the Week in Week 1, Player of the Week in Week 3, and Team of the Week for Week 12. Beyond MLS, Hamid was named to EA Sports FIFA 13 Ultimate Team of the Week for his seven-save performance against the New York Red Bulls.

“It felt good to be recognized for your play,” said Hamid. “I know everyday I come in, I work hard…I always said I’d rather have team success than all those individual accolades, but it feels good just to be recognized for the hard work that I put in.”

With National Team aspirations, Hamid recognizes that each time he attends camp, he needs to take advantage of every moment. D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen believes he does. Olsen has said that every time Hamid returns from National Team Camp, he is sharper than ever. Hamid modestly agrees.

“I think I get a lot out of every time I go to camp,” said Hamid. “It is just a fresh perspective.”

Most recently, the 22-year-old talent has been named to the 35-man roster for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, with a final roster to be announced on June 27.

“I’m so honored to be on that Gold Cup list,” stated Hamid. “I have a couple performances, a couple games, where I have to do well. Obviously, I always want to do well, but I feel honored to be on that list.”

Honor is not the only thing that comes with being named to a Gold Cup roster. National success also brings a higher level of scrutiny. But Hamid tunes out the criticism, trying not to pin-point little things and focus on being a better teammate.

“Just helping my teammates out more, making more saves,” answered Hamid when asked what he thinks he needs to work on. “Doing whatever I have to do to help us get a win.”

For Hamid, focusing on being a better teammate is the stepping stone to both personal and team success.

“It’s all about being a better teammate, being a better leader, organizer— all those things.” said Hamid. “If you do that, then the pieces will fall into place.”