Bill Hamid is done with the failed Olympic qualifying bid, in a way. If it’s behind him, then it’s pushing him forward. In the meantime, he’s refocused on the task at hand with D.C. United, which is the same thing it’s always been when it comes to the goalkeeping position: a competition.
“That’s definitely a motivation factor in my life now,” Hamid said of his U.S. under-23 experience on Tuesday. “It’s turned from a big disappointment to something that’s fueled me to want to get better and want to get to the highest level one day. I’m using that as a tool to keep the passion alive because it was definitely something that hit me hard.”
For a player with radar lock on the steps he needs to take to advance his career, it’s clear that Hamid understands what he’ll miss out on by not getting to display his skills on the international stage at the London Summer Olympics. That was supposed to be the shop window, the place where European clubs would be enticed to hand over a transfer fee to MLS and D.C. United for his services.
Instead, Hamid has the rest of the season, aside from potential senior U.S. national team duty, to battle with Joe Willis for his spot in United’s first 11. Wait a second. Wasn’t he supposed to be the presumed starter? To Hamid, fighting for his spot is what he’s done ever since he turned pro in 2009.
“It’s always been like that,” Hamid said. “When I first came here, it was with Josh Wicks and Milos [Kocic], and I was third. I was just here, improving myself, getting acclimated to the professional level. The next year, it was Troy [Perkins], and we all know what happened with that. I got my chance that year, and things worked out well for me. Unfortunately, we didn’t succeed. There was always that competition. You want to get better. You’re a professional now, your livelihood, this is what you make a living from. That competition thing, it’s always been around, but it’s not how I approach things.”
Here’s how Hamid approaches things: when he trains, he knows he’ll be good enough not to be overlooked for the games.
“I feel fine,” he said when asked about the ankle knock he picked up with the under-23s. “I’m moving great, making saves, my kicking good, collecting crosses well. I feel completely fine, 110 percent. I feel like right now I’m in great shape and in the type of shape I’ve played my best at in the past.”
That leaves the decision for Wednesday’s match with Montreal to United coach Ben Olsen, who now has two solid goalkeepers at his disposal. To manage both of them, Olsen is going to have to use both of them, especially with D.C. United playing three games in nine days. Willis started on Saturday against New England. This weekend, a big, nationally-televised showdown with rival New York looms. To best know his options for that game, Olsen may need to take a chance on Hamid against the Impact. There’s no doubt that Willis is in form, but the Red Bulls game may not be the best place to throw Hamid back into the ring without a recent 90-minutes under his belt.
Olsen is also facing choices to make along the back line, where Emiliano Dudar is out with a left hamstring strain and Dejan Jakovic has practiced since spraining an ankle against the Revolution.
“We’re wrapping and icing and trying to get what we can, but on the other side of that is we do have a little depth right now so you can see a change or two,” Olsen said.
With that in mind, here’s my projected lineup: Hamid, Daniel Woolard, Brandon McDonald, Robbie Russell, Chris Korb; Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Branko Boskovic, Andy Najar; Dwayne De Rosario, Chris Pontius.