We already know how this one ends, but let’s take time to discuss Bill Hamid, and his 2017 season with D.C. United. In case you haven’t heard, Hamid finally decided back in October to not renew with the Black-and-Red, and signed with FC Midtjylland in Denmark, until 2022. That ended a couple of months of speculation, in which Hamid reportedly went back and forth in trying to decide to sign a new contract with United, the team’s longest current serving player.
United allegedly made a big play to keep Hamid in town, offering around $700,000, which would have made him the third highest paid keeper in the league. But Hamid had always harbored hopes of playing in Europe, even though injuries and a lack of time with the national team cost him the spotlight which might have facilitated a move earlier in his career. Instead, Hamid ended up in Denmark, where if he is good enough, even at the age of 27, there will be plenty of time for him to move up in ranks in Europe, especially with the US national team goalie situation in flux.
For the third consecutive offseason, an injury robbed Hamid of some time in preseason. Back in 2015, he had to miss the Champions League opener against Alajuelense, a 5-2 defeat which effectively ended United’s campaign immediately. Last year, knee surgery kept Hamid out in the end of May, after he withdrew from from the national team camp to have his meniscus repaired. That same meniscus caused problems this offseason, forcing Hamid to miss Bruce Arena’s January camp, though Hamid was healthy enough to start the season in goal for the Black-and-Red.
Hamid remained healthy throughout most of the season, and performed well, even with United struggling throughout much of the early goings in the season. Against Atlanta in April, Hamid made several big saves moments into the game, keeping a shell-shocked D.C. in the game, even though Kenwyne Jones finally converted before 15 minutes were on the clock. United came back to win that game, but then missed the next week, as United took precaution with his knee against Montreal, a game which took place in rainy conditions.
Hamid was never quite at the level that he was in 2014 and the beginning of 2015, when he single-handily was winning points for United. There were a couple of goals that he would have liked to have prevented, the most egregious being a shot from Giles Barnes that slipped through his hands in a 2-0 loss to Orlando City in May.
But Hamid did enough to earn a call-up from Bruce Arena for this summer’s Gold Cup. Hamid earned his third cap - which finally, technically cap-tied him to the US - in the third and final group stage game, as the US won 3-0 to win their group. Despite being with the US for the entire tournament, that was the only appearance for Hamid. He missed four game for United during that time, during which the team lost four times, with Travis Worra in goal.
When Hamid returned, United were essentially out of contention for the playoffs. A late flurry in the transfer window brought some hope, but at that point, United needed to win all of their final games to have a chance to qualify, a feat that they fell way short of in the end.
After the transfer window shut, United made one more move, and that was to bring in Steve Clark, who had played for a season in Denmark, before returning back to MLS. Worra had struggled as the back-up in 2017, and by August, United needed to make some sort of plans for the future if Hamid wasn’t going to sign a new contract. Hamid was held out of the San Jose game in September, as United had planned on giving clark a chance in goal. There was apparently someone from Eintracht Frankfurt in attendance for that game, but United rebuffed Hamid’s plea to play in that game.
Shortly after, he suffered a back injury, and missed the final games of the season, with Clark playing in his place. Hamid might have been healthy enough to play in the final game of the season, but in the week leading up to the game, he departed for Denmark, to sign the contract with Midtjylland. Hamid made it back to be in attendance for the final game at RFK Stadium, but a chance to say goodbye to a club legend during a game was missed
Hamid’s legacy in the Black-and-Red will be remembered fondly. Especially so since he grew up as a fan, sitting with supporters while part of the academy. He was the team’s first ever homegrown signing, and the best keeper the team has ever had. He won the 2014 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award, though he also had to endure several bad seasons with the club, including the 2013 campaign.
There was plenty of ridiculousness from Hamid, to go around with the emotions he displayed while with the club. Many saves he made during his career were other-worldly, keeping United in more games than they probably deserved. Hamid came into the league, and was thrust into a starting spot at a young age, earning a couple of red cards as he learned how to play professionally. His outburst after his sending-off against the New York Red Bulls in the playoffs in 2012 will forever be remembered.
But his maturity in recent years, growing into a vocal leader of the club, will be missed next year. United will likely end up with an adequate replacement, whether that be Clark, or anyone brought in as competition. Even so, United will have to find a way to replace a personality interwoven in the club, both on and off the field.
Down the road, would you like Bill Hamid to return to D.C. United?
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