(FC Midtjylland)

Bill Hamid’s departure from D.C. United after eight years is now official, with the MLS team and his new employer, Danish club Midtjylland, announcing the move Wednesday.

He signed a 4 1/2-year contract, effective Jan. 1. With his United deal expiring at the end of December, Hamid was free to sign a pre-contract elsewhere. He had turned down a three-year guaranteed offer to re-sign with United that would have more than doubled what he will earn in Denmark. The money wasn’t the issue, though; the Annandale, Va., native has longed to play in Europe and saw Denmark as an opportunity both to play in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League and perhaps move to a high-end European league in the future.

He leaves United with club goalkeeping records in starts (184), victories (66), saves (642) and shutouts (49).

His move overseas was first reported by the Insider last week.

“Bill represents the soccer dream in the United States,” United General Manager Dave Kasper said in a written statement. “He’s a local player who grew up supporting the club and was recruited into our academy because of his potential. … We wish Bill the best of luck in this next chapter as he continues to grow and push for a starting spot on the U.S. national team. We thank him for all he’s given to our organization and our fans during his time in D.C.”

At Midtjylland, which is in first place through 13 matches, Hamid is far from assured of playing time. Jesper Hansen, 32, has started every match since arriving from Danish side Lyngby this summer. He has been in uniform for 22 Danish national team matches and started once.

Hansen’s back-up, Michael Falkesgaard, is preparing to move this winter. Midtjylland’s third keeper is Oliver Ottesen, 19.

Hamid, who turns 27 next month, is a candidate for the U.S. national team’s friendly at Portugal on Nov. 14.

Steve Clark, who started United’s final five matches, is the top-choice keeper heading into the offseason. However, the club is in the market for someone to compete with him for the starting job. Travis Worra and Eric Klenofsky will probably vie for the No. 3 slot.

>> The MLS playoffs begin tonight and continue Thursday with four first-round matches:

Wednesday

New York Red Bulls at Chicago Fire, 8:30 p.m. ET (FS1, UniMas, Fox Sports Go, fuboTV)

San Jose Earthquakes at Vancouver Whitecaps, 10:30 (UniMas, fuboTV)

Thursday

Columbus Crew at Atlanta United, 7 p.m. (ESPN2, WatchESPN, ESPN3, UniMas, fuboTV)

Sporting Kansas City at Houston Dynamo, 9:30 (UniMas, fuboTV)

Four teams received byes and will begin playoff work this weekend: Toronto FC, New York City FC, Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders.

>> U.S. midfielder Alfredo Morales scored in the dying minutes of Ingolstadt’s 3-1 victory at Greuther Fuerth in a German Cup second-round match. Julian Green did not play for Greuther Fuerth because of injury. Morales, 27, has scored in two of his past three appearances. Who is Alfredo Morales? Here’s my 2015 profile of the German-Peruvian-American.

>> Other Americans abroad:

Weston McKennie entered in the 57th minute of Schalke’s 3-1 victory at third-tier Wehen Wiesbaden in the German Cup.

Fabian Johnson entered in the 76th in Moenchengladbach’s 1-0 German Cup victory at second-flight Fortuna Duesseldorf.

Alejandro Guido played 85 minutes before yielding to Joe Corona in Tijuana’s 2-2 draw (4-2 victory on penalties) at Morelia in Copa MX.

Jonathan Bornstein went the distance in Queretaro’s 1-1 draw (4-2 victory on penalties) at Leon in Copa MX.

>> Until early last week, the University of Maryland men’s team had gone 30 matches without losing in the regular season. On Tuesday night, the Terrapins lost for the third time in eight days, dropping a 3-0 decision to Virginia Commonwealth.

All three defeats have come at home by shutout against a nonconference opponent. The last time the Terps (10-3-3) lost three in a row regardless of location was 2004. The last time they lost three straight at Ludwig Field was 17 years ago.

Locked in a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten Conference, Maryland will close the regular season at 4 p.m. Sunday against visiting Michigan. The other front-runners, Michigan State and Indiana, will clash Sunday in East Lansing, Mich. The league tournament will begin the following weekend with the higher seeds hosting quarterfinal matches. The semifinals and final will take place Nov. 10-12 in Westfield, Ind.

>> Georgetown, which has won seven of its past eight matches, will host Providence at 2 p.m. this afternoon at Shaw Field. Anchored by J.T. Marcinkowski, a U.S. under-20 goalkeeper and San Jose Earthquakes academy player, the No. 10 Hoyas (11-2-1) have recorded three consecutive clean sheets. Providence is 4-7-3.