LA Galaxy sign veteran Belgian defender Jelle Van Damme
The LA Galaxy have signed defender and former Standard Liege captain Jelle Van Damme, the MLS team announced on Tuesday. The Galaxy used targeted allocation money to complete the signing.
Van Damme has been the Belgian club's captain since 2011, and he scored 22 goals and had 27 assists in his 205 appearances. He helps fill the void in the Galaxy defense left behind by Omar Gonzalez, who was transferred to Liga MX side Pachuca.
“Jelle is an experienced, talented defender who will strengthen our back line,” Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena said in a statement. “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.”
The Galaxy are also reportedly closing in on signing free agent and former England international defender Ashley Cole, who had his contract with AS Roma terminated.
Van Damme was involved in an alleged incident of racial abuse with U.S. international Oguchi Onyewu in 2009, and Fox Sports reports that the Galaxy and MLS investigated the incident and spoke to Onyewu and Van Damme about what happened prior to his signing. Van Damme reportedly called Onyewu a "dirty monkey," and Onyewu sued him before withdrawing the legal complaint following an apology.