On Friday, the Montreal Impact announced that they had come to terms with 2015 MLS defender of the year Laurent Ciman through the 2018 season. Ciman who was signed by Montreal prior to the 2015 season quickly became a fan favourite for his tenacious style of play.
The central defensive pairing of Ciman and Victor Cabrera were one of the top duos in 2015, and Ciman's contract extension ensures the two will remain teammates through 2018.
One area that the Impact would like to see some improvement is with Ciman's disciplinary record. During the 2015 MLS regular season,Ciman accumulated eight yellow and three red cards. The other question mark relating to Ciman is how much time the defender could potentially miss during the EURO 2016 tournament this summer in France.
As MRS contributor Andrew D'Anna points out, if Ciman is selected by Belgium for the tournament he could potentially be away from the Impact between June 10th - July 10th. It would be a tough stretch for Ciman to miss with Montreal facing: the Columbus Crew , Sporting Kansas City, the New England Revolution and Real Salt Lake.
Despite the concerns about discipline and question marks surrounding EURO 2016, the Montreal Impact have secured a big part of their future with the signing of Laurent Ciman through 2018.
Montreal Impact Press Release:
MONTREAL - The Montreal Impact announced on Friday that Belgian defender Laurent Ciman has agreed to a one-year extension, keeping him under contract with the club through the 2018 season.
"We are very pleased to have extended Laurent's contract for an extra year," said Impact technical director Adam Braz. "Laurent and his family indicated that they felt great in the city and in the club. There was a mutual desire to extend his time with the club."
"I am very pleased to be able to extend my contract with the Impact," declared Ciman. "My family and I are happy in this city and we love our new lives here in Quebec. We feel privileged to be able to grow here. On the sporting side, I feel comfortable with this club and I am proud to be here for several more years. I want to thank the organization and fans for their support. I'll do everything to help this team win."
Ciman, 30, was named the 2015 MLS Defender of the Year, selected to the MLS Best XI and the Impact Defensive Player of the Year, following his first season in the league.
In 2015, Ciman quickly imposed himself on the team's backline, helping the club to its best showing in its young MLS history with 44 goals allowed this season, five less than 2013 and 14 less than 2014.
He tallied two goals and two assists during the regular season, finishing second on the team with 2,405 minutes and third with 27 starts. He also started all three games for the Impact in the MLS Cup Playoffs, registering one assist and 300 minutes.
He was selected to the 2015 MLS All-Star Game, wearing the captain's armband during the second half against English club Tottenham Hotspur F.C. He was also named three times to the MLSSoccer.com Team of the Week and six times as the Videotron mobile Player of the Game.
At the international level, Ciman is a regular with the Belgian national team since 2010. He was on the roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He made his official debut with the Red Devils on May 19, 2010 against Bulgaria. He's played nine games so far, including four qualifiers for Euro 2012. He also participated in the 2007 U21 UEFA Championship with Belgium and suited up for his country at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, with the U23 team.