Ajax extends goalkeeper Jasper Cillissen’s contract

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With his set to expire next in 2016, 25-year-old Dutch international goalkeeper Jasper Cillissen has extended his deal for two more years.

Cillessen, the first-choice netminder for the Netherland’s third-place finish at the 2014 World Cup, has signed a new deal to keep him at Amsterdam Arena until the summer of 2018, the club announced today.

“18 months ago, everything was different,” Cillessen told the Ajax official website. “That shows how fast things can move. A lot has happened in the last year.”

To his reference, Cillessen was riding the bench as a 23-year-old in favor of Kenneth Vermeer just three years his senior. But after winning the Eredivisie championship that season, the club made the switch to Cillessen and eventually sold Vermeer to Feyenoord this summer.

The Groesbeek product was most famous this summer for being the man Tim Krul replaced during the penalty shootout against Costa Rica. Louis van Gaal’s swap was a masterstroke, with Krul making two key saves to see the Dutch through.

While his record on penalty saves isn’t the greatest, Cillessen has led Ajax superbly in net. He has conceded just 15 goals in 13 matches so far this season, and has 30 clean sheets in 69 Ajax appearances throughout his career, conceding just 63 goals over that span.

“This sends a good signal,” said manager Frank de Boer said. “Jasper, along with Davy Klaassen, Joel Veltman and Ricardo van Rhijn, among others, have bound themselves to the club for a longer period of time. If the current group remains together for a minimum of two years great things will happen.”

Oddly enough, Cillessen is one of the few younger players at Amsterdam Arena to not come through the famed Ajax Academy, instead coming through the youth ranks at local club NEC just 7 miles down the road from his hometown. He moved to Ajax in 2011 and signed a 5-year deal through 2016.

“A contract extension with Ajax is very special, especially for a guy who still has come from outside,” Cillessen said.