CARSON, Calif. (Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016) – The LA Galaxy have acquired Belgian defender Jelle Van Damme, the club announced today. Van Damme, who joins after making over 200 appearances for Belgian side Standard Liege since 2011, was acquired using Targeted Allocation Money and will occupy an International spot on the Galaxy roster pending the receipt of a P-1 Visa and ITC. Per MLS and club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Jelle is an experienced, talented defender who will strengthen our back line,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach and General Manager Bruce Arena. “He joins our team with a wealth of experience playing at the highest levels of competition in the world. We look forward to adding him to our roster.”
Van Damme, 32, joins from Standard Liege in Belgium, where he captained the side and made 205 appearances since 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.
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The defender made his professional debut in 2001 with Germinal Beerschot of the Jupiler League in Belgium. The following year, he signed with Ajax, Netherland’s most accomplished club. While with the Dutch side, Van Damme made 22 appearances and helped lead his team to the 2003-04 Eredivisie league title while also featuring in the UEFA Champions League.
Following a brief stint with Southampton in England and a loan spell with Werder Bremen in the German Bundesliga, Van Damme returned to his native Belgium to sign with Anderlecht in 2006. In four years with the club, he helped his side capture the Belgian League title (2006-07, 2009-10), the Belgian Cup (2007-08) and the Belgian Super Cup (2006, 2007). He also scored 18 goals and added 23 assists from his position in defense.
Van Damme featured for Wolverhampton Wanderers in England’s Premier League in 2010 before signing with Standard Liege the following year. While with the historic Belgian club, he scored 22 goals and notched an additional 27 assists in his 205 total appearances.
Van Damme has featured extensively for the Belgium National Team, making 30 appearances since his debut in 2003. As an international, he has appeared in multiple UEFA EURO qualifiers and FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.