- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bill Hamid could hardly contain his joy.

As the D.C. United goalkeeper prepared to talk to the media Thursday morning after his club’s training session at RFK Stadium, a wide grin spread across the normally stoic 20-year-old’s face.

He knew exactly what the reporters were there to talk to him about: his first call-up to the U.S. national team, for Wednesday’s friendly against Mexico in Philadelphia.

“Life is good right now,” he said.

The second-year player, who in September 2009 became the first youth academy product to sign with United’s first team, was one of 22 players called up by new U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann, who will be leading the Americans for the first time since replacing Bob Bradley last week.

After starting eight games his rookie season, during which he became the youngest goalkeeper in league history to win a match, Hamid has started 17 contests and recorded six shutouts in 2011 after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

Hamid has been in particularly fine form of late, conceding one goal in his past four starts.

“It’s important for him to take it in stride and enjoy the experience,” United coach Ben Olsen said. “He’s been a very good goalkeeper in this league for the last month. … I think it shows Juergen is committed to bringing in guys who are potentially the future of the national team.”

Hamid got word of his surprising call-up Wednesday. Seeing a message from an unfamiliar number on his phone, he figured it was a telemarketer and waited an hour to check his voice mail.

“It happened to be Juergen Klinsmann,” Hamid said. “I was shocked. As soon as I heard the voice, I knew it was him and I didn’t listen to the rest of the message. I just put the phone down.

“And I started crying a little bit.”

Hamid and U.S. incumbent Tim Howard, a veteran he sees as a “big brother,” are the only two goalkeepers Klinsmann called in for next week’s friendly.

“Physically, he’s got a full body, he’s athletic, he’s big, he’s strong,” Howard said of Hamid last month. “He’s got great goalkeeping attributes from a physical standpoint. But going forward, it’s about handling the pressure of winning and losing, of playing well more often than you don’t. I think he’s well on his way.”

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