Growing up, D.C. United goalie Bill Hamid dreamed of playing soccer for his hometown team. “I think growing in the area is really cool, it is a big soccer area, and my father has always been a part of the soccer community in this area,” Hamid told the AFRO. “Coming to games here was always great and being a part of the soccer community in the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) is so rewarding because there are so many people a part of it.”

Bill Hamid says it is important for D.C. United to foster and recruit area talent. (Photo by Daniel Kucin)

Hamid did just that when he signed with D.C. United in 2009, making him the first homegrown player with the team. He had attended the organization’s academy, a program that offers youth from 13-18 the opportunity to participate in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy for 10 months out of the year in two separate halves of the season.

“I think it is a huge impact being a homegrown product,” said Hamid. “It is important that we continue to bring up players from our team and through our organization’s system to give them an opportunity to show themselves, and give younger players the belief that they can make it to the first team as well.”

The former 2014 MLS (Major League Soccer) Goalkeeper of the Year is on pace to have another stellar season. He is one save behind Luis Robles of the New York Red Bulls for the league lead in saves (36). He has also logged more than 700 minutes and secured over 72 percent of the shots (50) he has faced. D.C. united is, as of May 9, in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.

“He pulls off some great saves,” said D.C. United midfielder Lloyd Sam. “We need to start games better because it has been a trend for us, but luckily we have Bill to help us out with that, but it is imperative that he is on the field.”

Hamid started his high school soccer career at Annandale High School in Virginia, but he left his mark while attending DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md. During his senior season in 2005-2006 at the Prince George’s County-based school, Hamid garnered a First-Team All-Maryland selection and First-Team All-Prince George’s County and First-Team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference honors.

Despite all his accolades, Hamid doesn’t feel he has changed much as a player since his first MLS game. He still has his morning cup of coffee and rigorously trains to be the best player that he can be.

He made the best of his opportunity in 2010, he said, when as a rookie he started in his first professional soccer match. He earned the first win of his career against Kansas City 2-1 at home in historic fashion. At age 19, that win made him the youngest goalkeeper in MLS history to win a League match.

“I will always remember his first game,” said his father, Sully Hamid, in an interview with MLS. “When I heard the whistle, and he looked up, and he saw me and gave me the thumbs up, I couldn’t imagine how quick I got from the mezzanine to where they were downstairs for me to give him a hug.”

Since making a giant splash in the league, Hamid signed a multi-year contract to stay with D.C. United in 2015 as a cornerstone piece for the franchise. Even though Hamid has experienced injuries throughout his career, last season he showed the world his resiliency.

Hamid missed the first 12 games of the 2016 regular season, but he led D.C. United to a victory over Kansas City in his return to the starting lineup that year. During that season, Hamid accounted for 68 saves, notched five shutouts, and had a goals against average of 1.25.

This season, the 26-year-old is focused on making sure he will do everything in his power to maintain consistency as D.C. United is currently tied with Atlanta United FC just outside of the playoff picture. D.C. United will take on Philadelphia Union on May 13.

“I think the outlook going forward is to just put together consistent performances and consistent bouts of possession and results,” said Hamid. “I think the results are coming and getting results so far have been getting more positive than not, and that is important.”