MLS defender of the year Laurent Ciman considers Montreal Impact contract extension

MLS defender of the year Laurent Ciman considers Montreal Impact contract extension

Main pic: Montreal Impact’s Laurent Ciman celebrates after scoring against Real Salt Lake during first half MLS soccer action in Montreal, Saturday, May 16, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes. 

MONTREAL — Star defender Laurent Ciman says he is happy in Major League Soccer and would consider extending his three-year contract with the Montreal Impact.

The 30-year-old Belgian, named defender of the year in his first MLS campaign, told the web-based soccer news show “On Jase Soccer” on Thursday that he and his family have adapted to life in Montreal since inking a three-year deal in January.

He said he’d like to stay on when his contract runs out after the 2017 season, especially if he gets designated player status.

“It’s true that at the start it was difficult,” said Ciman. “We had never moved away before, so of course we missed our family and friends.

“I also missed my club (Standard Liege), for sure, because I spent quite a long time there (from 2010 to 2014). Now we’ve started to adapt here. We were well received. People treated us warmly. There is really a kind of security for the children. It made us consider maybe extending our stay here.

“I’m under contract through 2017 but why not (stay on)? I feel good here. The team has progressed and I don’t think that’s going to stop. The team wants to grow, MLS wants to grow. I like the league.”

Ciman’s move to Montreal was based on finding top quality treatment for his five-year-old autistic daughter Nina that was unavailable in Belgium.

There was a nasty dispute in mid-season when Ciman’s wife complained to Belgian media that the Impact had “abandoned” them because they had to pay out of their own pockets for private health care, but it appeared to be resolved by the club.

Ciman said his daughter has made “enormous progress.”

The nine-time Belgian international, who also has a son, repeated a few times that “my family comes first” in making decisions on his career.

His arrival in Montreal filled a gaping hole in the central defence. With Ciman anchoring the back line, the Impact allowed 14 fewer goals than in 2014 and made the playoffs for the second time in four MLS seasons. They lost to Columbus in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Ciman had two goals in 27 games and was named to the MLS best 11.

Bill Beacon, The Canadian Press

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