Mag Minute: DC United goalie Bill Hamid

The 21-year-old goalkeeper has led DC United to its first playoff appearance since 2007. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Last March, Bill Hamid was the starting goalie for the under-23 U.S. national team that lost to El Salvador and saw its hope for an appearance at the London Olympics disappear.

The agonizing defeat could have foretold a disastrous MLS season for the northern Virginia native, who plays less than a dozen miles from home for DC United.

But after a slow start, Hamid has braced the defense, beginning with a shutout of Toronto on May 5 and culminating with an Oct. 20 win that clinched DC United’s first playoff appearance since 2007. He has won 13 of 23 games and his save percentage (77 percent) is the best in the league, helping make up for the firepower lost when offensive leader and 2011 league MVP Dwayne De Rosario went down with a knee injury in early September.

DC United ends its regular season today in Chicago; the playoffs begin on Halloween. The MLS Cup will be held on Dec. 1.

Hamid turns 22 on Nov. 25, so he's hoping his birthday week will culminate with a championship in front of a hometown crowd.

What is the biggest misconception about you?

That I play another sport. People see me walking down the street and think I play football or basketball.

If you had a talk show, who would be your first guest?

Shaquille O’Neal. He has that personality, and I’ve always been a big fan. He’s hilarious. And he would bring a lot of press.

Who is someone you met but didn’t have enough time to talk to?

Mariah Carey. I was in L.A. for an awards show, and I met her for a quick “hi” and a picture, and that was it.

What was your most unrealistic New Year’s resolution?

To go a year without drinking soda. I broke it that night. Soda is just a way of gaining weight, and I was trying to be healthy and get back to eating right, but I didn’t follow that.

With which professional athlete would you never want to trade places?

Chad Ochocinco.

What is your guilty pleasure?

“Million Dollar Listing” on Bravo. I watch it religiously. People come over to my house and see the DVR full of it, and if they try to change the channel, I get mad. It’s a real-estate show, and I like the lifestyle they’re selling. The houses range from $2 million to $14 million.

What was the last thing you Googled?

Directions to a Five Guys. I was with my girlfriend, and she was craving Five Guys. I didn’t order anything, though; I just nibbled on her fries.

What is the best advice you ever received?

“Through all the negatives, keep smiling. Stay positive.”

The worst?

“Quit while you’re ahead.” I don’t think you should ever quit. Just keep pushing, keep focusing.

Whom would you want to play you in your biopic?

Denzel Washington. I don’t know how he does it, but Denzel finds a way to make every movie exciting.