DC goalkeeper Hamid on brink of earning first-ever US cap
WASHINGTON — When the US roster for next week’s friendly against Mexico was unveiled Thursday afternoon, D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid's name was on it. It was an eye-opening moment.
The 20-year-old was the lone member of Jurgen Klinsmann's roster without a cap, which means the DC Home Grown product could make his international debut when the US face El Tri in Philadelphia on Aug. 10.
An ecstatic Hamid paid tribute to his teammates for the honor on Thursday.
“This couldn't happen without a team full of guys who are doing well right now and a coaching staff that is working us hard day in and day out and doing pretty well,” he told reporters after Thursday’s training session. “It's definitely something that I feel like is a team thing, a team accomplishment. I'm thankful I got the call.”
One huge factor in Hamid’s progression this year has been the presence of assistant coach Pat Onstad. The former MLS great was brought in by DC during the offseason to work specifically with the goalkeepers and defense.
“He wants to make sure that stuff in here is nice and tight and clean,” Hamid said. “Having a goalkeepers' coach like that, who is really dedicated to his job, has helped me and pushed me along really well and really quick. I'm thankful to him also, for getting me better day by day.”
After this season got off to a slow start — Hamid didn’t play in the first three games of the season because of offseason shoulder surgery — the young 'keeper has settled into a groove this summer.
Thanks also in part to the acquisition of defender Brandon McDonald, a once-leaky DC defense has tightened its hatches, conceding one goal in the last four league games, including a 2-0 win away against San Jose last weekend.
Hamid and DC take on Toronto FC at home Saturday night (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online), with United hoping to maintain their momentum and stay in contention for an MLS playoff spot. Then it’s off to Philadelphia on Sunday for a chance to impress the new US coach.
“I want to get better and show [Klinsmann] that I want to be one for the future, one soon,” he said. “I want to work hard and be in his plans.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.