On Thursday, Toronto FC officially announced the signing of centre-back Laurent Ciman, after a week of heavy speculation. The Belgian cente-back, a regular in the national team setup, returns to MLS after a stint with FC Dijon after leaving LAFC in the middle of the 2018 season.
TFC traded up in the allocation order for Ciman, trading the second allocation slot and Toronto FC’s second round pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft to FC Cincinnati to acquire the first slot and ensure they can get him.
Formerly of the Montreal Impact, Ciman was named the MLS Defender of the Year in 2015 and is a 3-time all-star (2015, 2016, 2018). He has represented Belgium at two major tournaments, the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.
“We are excited to add a player with Laurent’s vast experience,” said TFC Senior Vice President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko in a press release. “This is a player who has been a captain of two MLS teams, an All-Star and the Defender of the Year. He is an excellent passer, an organizer in the back and a passionate, fiery competitor. We look forward to him joining our club immediately and becoming an important part of our group.”
Ciman was traded by the Impact to LAFC for Raheem Edwards after the 2017 expansion draft, but he was unsettled and went to France. The reason Ciman went to Montreal in the first place, was so that his daughter, who has autism, could receive the treatment that she needs, that they were unable to get in Belgium. He was apparently unaware he was being traded to LAFC, and was unhappy about the move, as it defeated the reason he came to MLS. Moving to Toronto allows Ciman’s daughter to continue getting treatment, while Ciman can continue to play soccer close to his family.