It has been nearly two years since Bill Hamid has taken the field wearing the red, white, and blue for the US national team. In a friendly against Ireland, D.C. United’s first ever homegrown signing played 90 minutes in a 4-1 defeat. Injuries robbed Hamid a chance to join the US team in April 2015, and in January, Hamid had to withdraw before the start of camp to have surgery on his knee.
Though Hamid was called in to the national team for the New Zealand friendly tomorrow at RFK Stadium, that lull has left Hamid buried on the goalkeeper depth chart for the US, according to manager Jurgen Klinsmann.
“At the end of the day, we have a player ranking, when we get together as coaches, when we have our conference calls, every Monday and Tuesday, and talk to players, up and down the [depth] chart,” Klinsmann said during his press conference.
“And right now, in that ranking, [Hamid is] probably around number six or seven. You have Tim Howard, you have Brad Guzan, you have Ethan Horvath, you have William Yarborough, you have David Bingham, you have Nick Rimando, we have [Hamid], we have Sean Johnson.”
With Howard and Guzan left behind as Klinsmann searches for the apparent number three keeper, Horvath started and went 90 minutes against Cuba in the friendly last Friday. With Hamid called in as a replacement, there will be competition for minutes against the Kiwis. Something that Hamid is more than willing to accept.
“If feels good to be healthy, and playing well, and be back in this environment, and around these guys,” Hamid told reporters on Monday. “It’s a very cut throat environment, it’s very high level. I’ve been thinking about [this] since I came back from injury.”
Hamid responded to being told that he was way down on the depth chart, by accepting that his injuries have plagued his standing with the US team. After the World Cup in Brazil, there was an opening to push Howard and Guzan and Rimando for a spot on the roster. But due to wrist and knee injuries, Hamid has not been able to stay healthy for a long enough time to force his way into the national team.
“That’s how it goes. You get hurt, and you have to take a step back. Things happen. I understand the message,” Hamid said after being told that Klinsmann had pegged him sixth or seventh on the depth chart. “So now I have to work my way back on the ladder, on that depth chart. I’m okay with that. I welcome that. I’m excited for that. I know what I’m capable of, I know what I can do, how well I can perform. And I know that I will be back up there as soon as I can.”
And there’s no feeling from Hamid that his injury history is being held against him more than anyone else on the team.
“No, injuries happen. This is sports. Injuries happen, and you have to take a step back, and get yourself healthy again, you have to come back and get sharp and work your way up the ladder,” added Hamid. “That’s how sports goes. This is how things happen. You have to accept the ups and the downs when they all come.”
Since returning from his knee surgery this year, Hamid has appeared in all of United’s MLS games, minus the July trip against Toronto FC. He hasn’t quite been in his other worldly form that he was in at the beginning of 2015, but Hamid has done his fair share to help United climb into a playoff spot late in the season.
All told, the call-up and chance to prove himself on the field in front of Klinsmann is a credit to Hamid’s performances, according to his club manager, Ben Olsen.
“It’s certainly well deserved. He’s been one of the better goalkeepers in the league for the last several years,” Olsen told B&RU on Monday. “For them to give him a look, is warranted. Hopefully he does a good job when he’s there. Both in training, and if his opportunity in the game comes.”
And the prospect of that opportunity has Hamid champing at the bit.
“I feel strong, and I feel good about the way I’m playing. I just want to contribute to my national team,” said Hamid.