After seeing his club team finish a disappointing seventh in the Eastern Conference during his first full season between the sticks, D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid thought things could get better from there.
One shocking elimination from CONCACAF's Olympic Qualifying tournament later, and the 21-year-old was left searching for answers.
Those answers have come in the form of a rock-sold sophomore season with capital city club, one that has it in a not-so-distant fourth place in the table after just under two-thirds of the season.
“I feel like I let a lot of people down with that [the Olympic issue] and I wanted to show what I can do," Hamid told Goal.com about the ouster back in March. "That’s never something you can make up for, it’s the Olympics. All I can do at this point is work on my game hard, every single day and be the best teammate I can be. If I get that national team call-up again, I’m definitely going to represent my country the right way.”
Having started only 10 of the team's 20 matches so far this season due to injury and the aforementioned Olympic absence, Hamid has officially established himself as D.C.'s starting keeper since early May, a run that has seen the Black-and-Red lose only three matches. The Virginia-native credits a renewed sense of focus in the locker room, one that has been strong since the preseason.
“It’s been good, we’re doing extremely well," said Hamid of the season so far. "We’re towards the top of the East and that’s somewhere we haven’t been in a long time. We want to continue with that success and our goal right now is to make the playoffs. From there on, it’s in anyone’s hands. We’re happy our level of play so far as well. We feel like we’ve had a good standard of play and we brought back kind of that old style that D.C. United used to have and it’s gone really well.”
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“We could tell that the coaches were really buckling down because of the offseason transactions that we were making. When we came into the preseason, we saw it. We’ve known that we can be a very good team if we keep guys healthy and if we all are on the same page.”
With his club apparently on the rise, where does that leave Hamid? Bouncing back from last season and the missed opportunity of the Olympics has spurred the young keeper to strive for big things - with or without D.C. United.
“This is a tough business," said Hamid of being a professional soccer player. "I don’t know where I’m going to be, but I want to be successful and be at a good club and represent my country. I want to make the most out of my game. I know what I can do. Guys like Timmy [Howard] and Jurgen [Klinsmann] have told me I have potential and when you hear that you want to maximize it. You don’t want to disappoint them. Maybe I’ll be in Europe, maybe I’ll be in MLS.”
“D.C. Is a great club and has a great fanbase and a great culture of soccer. Anywhere I’m at, I know I’m going to work hard, play, and do my absolute best.”
Hamid, who is the youngest goalkeeper to ever win an MLS match at the age of 19, is currently ranked first overall at his position in the MLS Castrol Index, and 15th overall.
For more information on Castrol and the Castrol Index, click here!