Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid say MLS performances aiding their U.S. goals
Goalkeepers Sean Johnson of New York City FC and Bill Hamid of D.C. United both believe their play in MLS have put them in a position to make the United States squad at next year's World Cup.
Johnson, 28, is in his first season as the No. 1 at NYCFC after seven seasons in Chicago, and has played a large part in the team's chase for the Supporters' Shield.
His play earned him a call-up for this summer's Gold Cup after a year and a half out of the national team's plans, and he said the transfer has only helped him improve.
"I think the change of scenery for me was needed and it was a good one," Johnson told USSoccer.com about his move in quotes published on Tuesday. "Ever since being with New York City, I've obviously received a chance to be in an environment with good players, tremendous staff and that's definitely helped where we are in the table and individually, it's helped me grow as a player and helped me get back here with the national team."
Hamid, 26, has had a more challenging time this season at D.C., which is bottom of the Eastern Conference with a league-worst minus-24 goal difference.
But he remains upbeat about his own performance and says he's become more of a leader in his eighth season with United.
"Things are going pretty well this season with D.C. United," Hamid told ussoccer.com about his eighth season with the club. "Individually I've tried my best to perform at a high level, week in and week out with [goalkeeping coach] Zach Thornton and [head coach] Ben Olsen. "I feel like I've been in a good run of form and I've stepped into that leadership role for our organization.
"With the performances, I've been fortunate enough to get the call back into the national team. It feels good right and I just want to keep it going."
Though Tim Howard and Brad Guzan remain in the forefront to start for the U.S. in Russia next summer, Hamid says he's doing everything he can to ensure he makes the squad.
"I'm leaving no stone unturned right now to make sure that I'm a part of that 23-man roster going to the World Cup," Hamid said. "It's everything I've ever dreamed of, but first off we have to qualify. That's my passion right now, it's everything that's running through my veins.
"From training, making sure that I'm a leader in my team with D.C. United, performing at a high level, pushing my teammates to be at their best and in training here -- using my voice and what I do well and working on my own weaknesses.
"It's all going to take its toll, but I know for a fact that if I do what I know I can do and perform how I can perform, I'm going to be a part of that roster."
Besides competing against the veterans and each other for a goalkeeper spot, Hamid and Johnson will also be challenged by newcomers Jesse Gonzalez and Ethan Horvath, both 22 and hoping to become the face of the U.S. in goal for the next generation.
"The competition is challenging because we all bring a different thing to the table," Hamid said. "We all have strengths and weaknesses, but we're all great goalkeepers. It motivates and pushes me to be my best day in and day out, whether I'm with my club or here in the picture.
"Just like them, I know they would say it in front of the camera, I want to be the No. 1 goalkeeper and to see them at their best pushes me to try and be at my best every day in training."
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