MLS's 2014 Goalkeeper of the Year Bill Hamid and D.C. United have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, according to a press release from the club. As is always the case in MLS, terms were not made public. However, the move should come as a major relief to fans, as Hamid's contract was set to expire at the end of the 2015 season. Given the consistent rumblings of European interest - including two separate training stints with English club West Bromwich Albion - there was reason to suspect that Hamid could end up leaving as a free agent this winter. Due to his stellar performances last season and his growing reputation within the US Men's National Team set-up, there would have been no shortage of suitors.
Hamid was the first player United signed via MLS's Homegrown player initiative, all the way back in 2009. A year later, he broke Tim Howard's record as the youngest goalkeeper in league history to be credited with a win (a record he still holds). The Annandale, VA native has been frequently called into USMNT camp by Jurgen Klinsmann over the past couple of years, and though he has just two caps it is considered a given that he will participate in this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup. More recently, Hamid's performance against Orlando City in a 1-0 win may be the single best individual showing in all of MLS this season.
Fans don't just adore Hamid for his on-field heroics, however. Following a red card in a playoff match against the hated New York Red Bulls, Hamid was forced to watch from the locker room as the Black-and-Red ended up winning the match (and series) on a late Nick DeLeon goal. Hamid's celebration inspired a massive tifo at the next home match, as well as a hashtag and a scarf.
For United, signing Hamid is a great sign that the club has retained the ability to keep their best players despite the continued economic difficulties that come with playing at RFK Stadium for the time being. It also ensures that, should Hamid pursue a European move anyway, United will receive a hefty transfer fee in exchange for their star's playing rights. Hopefully, Hamid feels he can continue to grow towards his stated ambition of being the USMNT's starter with United.