BRADENTON, Fla. — D.C. United’sBill Hamid may have shared the MLS lead in shutouts in 2019 and topped the league in save percentage, but Hamid was still without a US men's national team call-up since November 2018.
That is, until this January’s training camp.
“There were a couple times I spoke to Gregg [Berhalter],” Hamid said. “He told me to stay patient and keep working and told me some things he wanted me to work on.”
Hamid delivered and the 29-year-old earned his first call-up to the US national team under coach Berhalter for January camp.
Hamid credits a lot to his recent success, including his time abroad with Danish Superliga side FC Midtjylland.
“It was an amazing experience, on and off the field,” Hamid said. “I learned a lot, a lot about myself, about football, and how to affect the game as a goalkeeper in the back and not just with my voice.”
Hamid hopes to bring that experience back with him.
“I think I’ve become a better all-around goalkeeper,” he said.
His renewed time with the national team isn’t just about stats and skills. Its about leadership skills. Hamid believes that’s part of the reason for his re-entry to a squad that features plenty of fresh faces.
“The conversation we had prior to the camp was based on me coming in and being a leader, using my experience to come in and marshal the group,” Hamid said. “[Berhalter] told me it would be a young group before camp so I know what to expect.”
The young group consists of some new additions to the backline, which Hamid will have to lead, including 18-year-old Julian Araujo.
Confidence has also been a hallmark of Hamid’s style of play. Bold proclamations, such as his assertion that he is better than fellow USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan last March turned some heads, but Hamid is determined to stay on top.
“I think [my] call-up this January was based around a solid defensive effort,” Hamid said. “Leading the league in shutouts is a big accomplishment.
“That shows as a national team goalkeeper, you need to be leading the league statistics like Brad did," Hamid continued. "He was solid for Atlanta this year; I was solid for D.C. and that’s why we’re in contention to get call-ups,” he said.
Working under a coach for the first time is part of the learning process, according to Hamid, but he knows what will be expected from the coaching staff.
“It’s been great because it’s nice to see what the goal is as a team and a country,” Hamid said. “It feels great to be a part of it and represent my country.”