Just as the U.S. men’s soccer team will have a young roster for Monday’s game against Bolivia, so too will the visitors. Eleven of the 22 players on La Verde‘s roster have never played for the national team before, and goalkeeper Carlos Lampe has the most caps on the squad with 21.
But one Bolivian player will be a familiar face: forward Bruno Miranda. The 20-year-old forward is a reserve on D.C. United’s roster. He played five league games last year and has made two appearances so far this year.
It so happens that U.S. goalkeeper Bill Hamid knows Miranda pretty well, as they were teammates in D.C. for part of last year. Miranda arrived in August, and Hamid left for Danish club FC Midtjylland over the winter.
“Bruno’s a good young player,” Hamid said. “He’s got a lot of quality, a lot of strengths. He hasn’t gotten that much of a chance with D.C., but you can tell that he grew up in an environment that they play good football in.”
Hamid, a 27-year-old product of D.C. United’s academy, is an elder statesman on a roster whose average age is 22. He got to know a few of the players on this squad at last November’s game in Portugal, such as defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, midfielder Weston McKennie and forward Josh Sargent. Though the group hasn’t spent too much time together overall, Hamid likes what he has seen.
“There’s a lot of character in this locker room right now,” he said. “I started to feel that in the November game against Portugal. Just throughout the camp itself, you could feel a different buzz, a different energy with the youth and the togetherness.”
Midtjylland won the Danish Superliga title last Monday. Hamid didn’t play much, but he learned a lot from being in a different soccer culture.
“It’s a very interesting league, a different style of play,” Hamid said. “I think it’s something that’s been a task to adapt to — which is like anything, any new environment that you go to. I like it a lot. I think it’s a good environment, a great club with a good philosophy of how to play football, what they want to do.”
That’s exactly what Hamid wanted when he left D.C. United after a decade with the only club he’d played for as a pro. Even in just a few months abroad, he has learned a different style of playing goalkeeper.
“The expectations are a lot different,” he said. “How they want to move the ball forward, how they want to start the attack from the goalkeeper. Sometimes they go back all the way to the goalkeeper just to start an attack, open up a team.”
He has also had to adjust to a new culture off the field. As you might expect from a move to Scandinavia, one of the biggest adjustments is pretty obvious.
“It’s cold over there, man,” he said with a laugh. “I need more leg warmers and all that stuff. Send me some long johns if you get a chance.”