CARSON, CA (August 18, 2017) – It’s official. After less than two seasons in Major League Soccer, Jelle Van Damme has departed the LA Galaxy. The club has sold him to long rumored Royal Antwerp F.C., who were recently promoted to the first division in Belgium. This is a good move for all parties.
Official: LA Galaxy Transfer Jelle Van Damme To Royal Antwerp F.C. For $235,000
Van Damme came to the Galaxy in January 2016 as the de facto replacement for Omar Gonzalez. The 33-year-old made 46 appearances in his two seasons with the Galaxy. He was one of the finalists for the MLS Defender of the Year last year. Van Damme was a two time MLS All-Star and the 2016 LA Galaxy Defender of the Year.
Prior to coming to Los Angeles, Van Damme played throughout Europe including Standard Liege in Belgium, Ajax in the Netherlands, and South Hampton in England. He has been 30 caps with the Belgium national team.
He was captain for much of 2017 but had some ups and downs. He recently separated from his wife and has been unable to see his two young children without going home to Belgium during the season. If you’re not happy off the field, it will show. Van Damme has strugged throughout the year and gotten several suspensions due to heat of the moment decisions. He hasn’t been the same player for the Galaxy. He wanted to go home to his family.
“Jelle came to us and requested to return home to Belgium to be closer to his children. We worked closely with Jelle and Royal Antwerp so that we could make this move possible for Jelle and his family. Our top priority remains the success of the LA Galaxy. We thank him for his time with our club and wish him the best going forward,” LA Galaxy General Manager Pete Vagenas said.
With interest coming from his native country of Belgium, the writing was on the wall. Either the Galaxy were going to transfer him and get some money, or he was going to walk in January once he was out of contract. The Galaxy have reported a trasnfer fee of $235,000.
Everyone wins in this situation. The Galaxy’s season is over effectively. Van Damme gets to return home to his children. The Galaxy get some return on investment with the transfer fee. A young player will now get some minutes at centerback.
It is unclear if that is what they will recieve or what Antwerp paid for Van Damme. By rule, one third of external transfer fees go to the League. Even if that’s true, the Galaxy will get $155,100 in allocation money. There is a lot they can do with that. We’ll see what happens.
Transaction: LA Galaxy transfer defender Jelle Van Damme to Royal Antwerp F.C. for $235,000.