Bill Hamid’s time abroad didn’t go as planned. After years of European links and big expectations, Hamid’s push into greener pastures wasn’t quite as green as originally hoped.
Now, Hamid is back with D.C. United on loan in an effort to rebuild his confidence and reputation. It’s a similar fight facing the club he comes back to, one that is also looking to recapture past successes after a difficult period.
Hamid’s return comes on the heels of a failed trip abroad. When the goalkeeper moved to Denmark’s FC Midtjylland in January, the move was widely seen as a stepping stone. For years, Hamid had been earmarked as a player that could be the U.S. Men’s National Team’s next great goalkeeper and, with his move to a lower division in Europe, Hamid was expected to cruise through Danish soccer before moving on to bigger and better.
It didn’t happen that way. Hamid just made three appearances for Midtjylland as he failed to beat out Jesper Hansen for a starting role. Following Hamid’s arrival, Hansen put together a career-best stretch, leaving the American goalkeeper with little hope of breaking into the team. Even after taking what was seen as the safer, more pragmatic route, Hamid’s move to Europe backfired, leaving him without playing time and confidence heading into the summer. That rustiness was apparent when the USMNT took on Ireland, a match that only cemented that Hamid had fallen down the pecking order when it comes to the USMNT’s No. 1 spot.
That spot very much remains an option and should remain Hamid’s goal, but he’ll need to do some rebuilding first. He’ll need to find that playing time that led to the rustiness of this summer. He’ll need to find the confidence that made him one of the best goalkeepers in MLS for a multi-year stretch. And he’ll need to find a level of form we haven’t seen in awhile as even Hamid’s last few months in D.C. were more up and down than years past.
Like Hamid, D.C. is also in the midst of a rebuilding phase, one that has been greatly accelerated over the past several months. The move into Audi Field has certainly re-energized the club, as has the signing of Wayne Rooney. However, make no mistake, D.C. United is still a team playing catch-up with the league’s elite in a number of ways. Hamid can only play a part in so much during his one-and-a-half year loan, but the goalkeeper can certainly make an impact in the here and now.
As things stand, D.C. United sits 11 points out of a playoff spot with three games in hand. Hamid, despite his struggles, should provide an upgrade over David Ousted and Steve Clark, and with Vytas also joining the fold in defense, D.C. made moves to better its team ahead of a playoff push. D.C. has the talent and schedule to compete for a playoff berth, and the addition of Hamid can only help.
That makes the move an important one for both parties. It’s important for D.C. to finally push towards the league’s top teams because the club is one that should be competing, both now and in the future. And it’s important for Hamid to rebuild himself into what he used to be and, perhaps, use this loan move as a springboard for both his club and international career.