The physical tools have always been there, and he’s got more than a half-decade of experience in Major League Soccer despite being just 23 years old. He’s also played in more than his fair share of big games, advancing deep into the postseason in 2012 and winning a U.S. Open Cup title last year.
But there is something special about the inspired soccer that goalkeeper Bill Hamid is playing this season, a season-long performance that has him at the forefront of every conversation about Goalkeeper of the Year.
“Bill has taken a huge step forward this year in all aspects of his game,” said D.C. United Head Coach Ben Olsen. “He has taken his communication, work ethic and consistency to a different level. But it's his ability to make the big save that puts him among the best in the league.”
Coming up through D.C. United’s Academy, Hamid has been under the watchful eye of United’s staff for several years. He became the club’s first Homegrown signing in 2009, and he debuted the following season, becoming the youngest goalkeeper in league history to record a victory in his first start, taking the honor from his own idol, Tim Howard.
Hamid also learned some hard lessons from the difficult 2013 regular season, and he’s put them into practice this year, displaying a maturity to match his otherworldly ability to deny goals.
“Bill is becoming a consistent performer, and all areas of his game have improved,” D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper said. “His decision making is very fluid, and this takes time in the development of a goalkeeper. I want to make it clear that he has worked his tail off to get here. It is very rewarding to witness his development in the past 6-7 years.”
“It's been a pleasure watching him grow,” Olsen said. “If he continues to improve, he can play anywhere in the world.”
Riding Hamid and a stalwart defense, the Black-and-Red are at the top of the Eastern Conference at the latest point of a season since 2007. Hamid has played a massive role, helping United to the second best goals against average in MLS (1.17).
His personal GAA is 1.24, tied for fourth in MLS. It’s worth noting, however, that Hamid has played in more games (25), has faced more shots (128) and has had to make more saves (95) than the goalkeepers ranked higher than him.
Hamid sits in second place in shutouts with eight, just one shy of league-leading Stefan Frei and tied with his own career high from 2012. United leads MLS in shutouts in 2014 with 10.
“He is a big presence in the goal,” Kasper said. “His athleticism is off the charts.”
It has earned Hamid 10 MLS Save of the Week nominations. Through 29 games played, he’s earned a nomination over one-third of the possible weeks. He’s also ranked third for most wins for a goalkeeper (11), as well as saves (95), which is a career best for the young standout.
Recognition has already come in the form of an All-Star nod – and Hamid posted a clean sheet jn his 45 minutes vs. Bayern Munich – and most recently with being ranked No. 10 in MLS’ 24 Under 24. Kasper sees an even brighter future.
“The sky is the limit for Bill,” he said. “He has the quality to be a starter for the United States National Team in due time.”
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