Following the news from Ives Galarcep that D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid would be missing Saturday’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes, the reaction was interesting, perhaps because of how said news was framed. Consider the headline:
“D.C. United sits Bill Hamid as European clubs circle”
Now to the vox populi:
Ben Olsen sits Bill Hamid with a Bundesliga scout in town to watch him? What a d$&! move! #DCU #OlsenOut— MAK (@Matt_Keenan_540) September 23, 2017
I would request a transfer ASAP pronto if @dcunited did this to me. @BillHamid28 https://t.co/dT6FqqLWFz— SSFC ⭐️ Rumors (@SSFC_Rumors) September 24, 2017
Pathetic From @dcunited If True! @BillHamid28 Has Been DCU's MVP For 8 Straight Years, It's His Time To Explore European Opportunities! https://t.co/de0hpCHdY5— DMV Soccer (@DMVsoccer96) September 24, 2017
That's underhanded and diabolical by DC United. Very unprofessional, very disrespectful. @MLS @MLSPlayersUnion— JimBurke@JimBurke21 (@Jkburke21Jim) September 24, 2017
I get the sentiment but let’s look at some things shall we?
- D.C. United has encouraged Hamid to train in the offseason at West Bromwich Albion (in 2013) and Norwich City (in 2015). Hamid has also had clubs take a look at his abilities at RFK over the years, including other Premier League clubs.
- Weeks after that second training stint, Bill missed the first two and a half months of 2016 due to surgery for a torn meniscus. To be clear I’m not tying a Euro training stint to that injury, though it should be noted Bill missed a couple of weeks in 2015 to knee issues and admitted not being at 100% in the “One Shot, One Kill” victory over the Montreal Impact in August 2015.
- According to Steve Goff, Hamid has reneged twice on a contract offer which in all possibility would make him the second highest paid goalkeeper in MLS behind Tim Howard (Hamid earns $395,000 in overall compensation based on available information).
Switching gears briefly here to what Ben Olsen and the Black-and-Red are dealing with. The choice was made Thursday by Olsen to give recent signing Steve Clark the look Saturday in the 4-0 win, the first game of a three in seven day run (including two on the road) for D.C.
Additionally, it can’t be stressed enough that Olsen has seen this scenario play out under his watch. United and Perry Kitchen conducted a similar dance until the end of the 2015 season, when he decided to reject a similarly generous offer from D.C. to play at Heart of Midlothian in Scotland’s Premier League. While the case could be made that D.C. hasn’t been in better shape at the defensive midfield position than with 22-year old Russell Canouse, with 17-year old Chris Durkin throwing himself into the first team mix upon his return from the U-17 World Cup, it took nearly two full seasons to get back on solid footing. Kitchen’s decision, combined with Davy Arnaud’s eventual retirement related to concussion symptoms left the Black-and-Red scrambling for a replacement, which begat acquiring Marcelo Sarvas from the Colorado Rapids, a short-term move in terms of a starter at the position.
Given having Clark in hand now, and with the season being as it is, I think letting him start between the pipes is allowed whether Eintracht Frankfurt (or any other European team) decides to pay Bill Hamid a visit or not.
D.C. United has done some strange, off-book things over the last few years. However, calling this decision petty or amateurish when the team has made a lot of accommodations for arguably the most visible part of their franchise to both local fans and national observers, would seem to lack the context, nuance, or general information that covers the near-decade he’s spent on the field with the Black-and-Red.
Whether or not Hamid leaves for greener pastures isn’t the issue here; I’ve got a couple of his game-worn jerseys in my closet and I hope like hell he’s not only opening Audi Field in 2018, but that he’s on the front of every available marketing piece the team decides to churn out for this. A kid in the stands watching the team he grows up to play for is a prime opportunity on a bunch of different levels.
But I won’t begrudge him a thing if he leaves, and I believe the team ultimately won’t either.