MLS Defender of the Year Laurent Ciman says he'd like to extend stay with Montreal Impact

MONTREAL – The 2015 MLS Defender of the Year is putting down roots in Montreal.

Appearing as a guest on the “On Jase Soccer” YouTube show, Montreal Impact center back Laurent Ciman said he was willing to extend his current deal with the club, which expires following the 2017 season.

“Why not [stay here longer]?” Ciman said. “I feel good here. The team has progressed really well, and I don’t think this is it. The team wants to grow, MLS wants to grow. I like the league.”

Ciman, the first Montreal player to win the Defender of the Year award, made 27 appearances in his debut MLS season. He scored two goals and added two assists, but most importantly, he reinforced the Impact backline, which allowed an Eastern Conference-high 58 goals in 2014. Montreal conceded 14 fewer goals this season.

The Impact landed Ciman in January from Belgian club Standard de Liege. The Belgian international made a life choice to cross the Atlantic: his daughter Nina, affected by autism, needed improved care, and he felt Canada presented better options than Europe. Ciman agreed to decrease his wage demands to sign in MLS – without a Designated Player tag.

Asked if a contract extension could make him a DP, Ciman was noncommittal, adding that “money can’t buy happiness.”

“It’s not just up to me,” Ciman said. “We’ll try to strike a deal with the club that fits for the both of us. There’s the club, there’s football, and there’s my daughter, first and foremost. She’s progressing well, too. All in all, I’m really happy, and I’d like for this journey to carry on.”

Ciman’s agent, Jean Russo, similarly said that the ball was in the Impact’s court as far as an extension goes, but optimism is in the air. Talk is of a one-year extension. The new investments in players announced on Wednesday, Russo told, “help [the process] greatly.”

“Laurent is taking the necessary steps to buy a house of his own in the area,” Russo said. “He did all this for Nina, and they all like it here.”

The Montreal Impact, through a spokesperson, declined to comment.