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Bill Hamid to Dundee United: Meet the ex-Celtic target and DC United hero ready to answer Tannadice SOS

Hamid, pictured, will not be joining United. Image: Shutterstock
Hamid, pictured, will not be joining United. Image: Shutterstock

Dundee United are ready to sign their third international goalkeeper in the space of 14 months as Bill Hamid prepares to jet into Scotland on Monday.

Carljohan Eriksson’s arrival from Mjallby in January 2022 proved ill-fated, with the Finnish stopper unable to cement a starting berth at Tannadice. He has been farmed out to FC Nordsjælland on loan.

The Tangerines paid a fee for Australia cap Mark Birighitti last summer and his time at United has been marred by errors, most notably the catastrophic blunder that handed St Johnstone a 2-1 win last weekend.

Replacing Benji Siegrist was always going to be tough.

No-one thought it’d be this tough.

Hamid, capped eight times for the United States, is likely to become the next man to tackle that challenge, subject to a work permit.

Birighitti made a nightmare error last weekend. Image: Shutterstock.

Here, Courier Sport delivers the lowdown on the 6ft3ins custodian.

Heritage and faith

Hamid’s parents hail from Sierra Leone, prompting a fierce pride in his heritage.

Following devastating floods in West Africa in 2017, he sought to raise thousands of dollars to support relief efforts by auctioning off one of his match-worn jerseys — with Hamid matching all donations personally.

He said: “Seeing this affect my family from grandmother, to my aunts and uncles and cousins, it makes me want to do something about it.”

Hamid is a practicing Muslim and has spoken about the importance of his faith, and observing Ramadan amid the rigours of elite competition.

He told the Washington Post: “As I get older, I get stronger into my faith and my family’s faith and staying true to it. I realise God is an important part of my life and I utilise religion in every aspect, keeping God close to my heart.”

History maker

On the pitch, Hamid made history by becoming the first player to ever sign with the DC United first-team directly from their academy system.

Club CEO Kevin Payne noted Hamid had “drawn a lot of attention nationally and internationally”, such was his potential; already a United States under-20 internationalist at that point .

Indeed, reports across the Atlantic stated that Hamid was close to inking a deal with Celtic as a talented teen — only for visa issues to scupper the deal.

Hamid shows off his reflexes. Image: Shutterstock

Already towering, imposing and self-assured, Hamid made his debut on May 5, 2010. By helping DC United defeat the Kansas City Wizards at the age of 19 years and 161 days, he became the youngest goalkeeper to ever win a regular season MLS game.

He would go on to make 228 appearances for the club in a 12-and-a-half year career at the Black-and-Red. Only three DC United players — Jaime Moreno (427), Ben Olsen (283) and Bryan Namoff (260) — can better that tally.

Along the way, Hamid was regularly among the best goalkeepers in the country.

He was a standout in his maiden campaign as a No.1 in 2011, earning a trial with West Bromwich Albion (then in the English Premier League) in the process. DC United reached the playoffs on the back of his outstanding form in 2012.

He was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014.

During the 2017 and 2018 campaigns, Hamid was a teammate DC United teammate of United midfielder Ian Harkes, ensuring one familiar face at Tannadice.

International triumphs and travails

Hamid’s international debut came against Venezuela on January 21, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win.

He would go on to represent his country a further seven times — including being part of the Gold Cup-winning squads of 2013 and 2017 — but, according to reports in the U.S., never succeeded in winning over national team boss Jurgen Klinsmann.

Hamid in USA action against Ireland. Image: Shutterstock

The German boss once noted, when asked about the generation of keepers coming through after Tim Howard and Brad Guzan: “Where is our next wave? What happened to the Bill Hamids, the Sean Johnsons, the Breck Sheas, the Mix Diskeruds?”

It brought criticism and bewilderment in equal measures given — speaking in 2016 — Hamid was excelling.

European adventure

His sole experience of European football was a six-month stint with Danish side FC Midtjylland in 2019. Despite penning a two-year contract, Hamid would play only one match for the club — making an error in a 3-3 draw against Aalborg.

Wessam Abou Ali took advantage of Hamid flapping at a corner to prod home from close range and make it 3-2. None other than Pavol Safranko also beat the American keeper earlier in the game.

Hamid returned to DC United on a year-and-a-half loan deal in the summer of 2019 — effectively ending his Midtjylland adventure.

Hamid soaks up the applause. Image: Shutterstock

Injuries and personal issues have taken their toll since then.

Surgery on a broken hand and health concerns involving a close member of his family meant that he has not hit the same levels as during his first stint with the club, culminating in losing his starting place to David Ochoa last term.

A tear-soaked farewell

When it became clear that Hamid would not be getting a new contract, boss Wayne Rooney was urged to field him in the final game of 2022 campaign, in order for the fans to say farewell.

Rooney said: “In order to do that, he’s got to put the work in because he needs to get in better shape and be ready. I’ll see where he’s at. I think it will be difficult for him to do that. We’ll give him every opportunity.”

It did not come to pass.

Instead, he soaked up the ovation at half-time, as an emotional video package (view below) played inside the stadium.

Hamid has not played a competitive match since May 2022 but has been training with local side Loudoun United.

He recently said: “I’m just like sitting by the phone and just focused on what I can control.”

And he has answered United’s call.