The Colorado Rapids announced Thursday the signing of defender Axel Sjöberg to a three-year contract extension, which will begin at the conclusion of the 2017 Major League Soccer season.

“Securing Axel for the next three years was a top priority for us this season,” said Rapids Sporting Director and Interim General Manager, Pádraig Smith. “Axel’s level of commitment and work ethic have made him one of the best defenders in Major League Soccer and we look forward to his continued contributions for years to come.”

Last season, Sjöberg was named to the MLS Best XI and was among the three finalists for MLS Defender of the Year after anchoring a league-best defense to an unbeaten record at home (11-0-6). The 2016 Rapids Defender of the Year was second on the team in minutes played, helping the Rapids finish top of the league in shutouts (13), goals against (32), goals against at home (7), and goals against average (0.94).

Sjöberg, 26, has started all 51 regular season matches he’s appeared in, adding two goals and one assist in 4,571 minutes logged. The 6-foot-7 center-back joined the Rapids in January 2015 after being selected in the first round (14th overall) of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

The Stockholm, Sweden native recently received his green card and will no longer occupy an international slot on the roster.