The LA Galaxy have signed veteran defender Jelle Van Damme to a contract extension, the club announced today. Van Damme, 33, joined the Galaxy ahead of last season and recorded one of the best years of any defender in Major League Soccer, earning honors as a 2016 MLS Defender of the Year nominee and winning 2016 LA Galaxy Defender of the Year. Van Damme will occupy a Designated Player spot on the Galaxy’s roster.

“Jelle showed last season that he is undoubtedly one of the best defenders in Major League Soccer,” said LA Galaxy General Manager Pete Vagenas. “His contract will still give us the flexibility to bolster our roster during the summer. He is a leader, a winner and a competitor and will continue to be a centerpiece along our backline. We are thrilled to have Jelle as a member of the Galaxy for years to come.”

Van Damme joined LA last offseason from Belgian side Standard Liege and went on to make 29 appearances for LA during the regular season in addition to three more during the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs, which all came as all starts. Van Damme also led a Galaxy defense that allowed just 39 goals on the season, tied for the third-fewest in Major League Soccer, which gave LA the league’s second-best goal differential (+15).

Prior to his time in Los Angeles, Van Damme recorded a decorated career in Europe, most notably with Standard Liege in Belgium, where he captained the side and made 205 appearances after joining the team in 2011. In addition to Standard Liege, the defender has had stints with Germinal Beerschot (Belgium), Ajax (Netherlands), Southampton (England), Werder Bremen (Germany), Anderlecht (Belgium) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (England). He has also made 30 appearances for the Belgium national team.

The Galaxy will kick off the 2017 Major League Soccer Regular Season on Saturday, March 4 at StubHub Center when they host 2016 MLS Supporters’ Shield winners FC Dallas at 1 p.m. PT live on Univision. LA Galaxy Season Ticket Memberships for the 2017 MLS season are available for purchase now. Season Ticket Members and Galaxy fans can go to to secure their 2017 LA Galaxy Season Ticket package.