Galaxy defender and captain Jelle Van Damme headed to Belgium

Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme is headed back home.

Van Damme, 33, who has served as the Galaxy’s captain this season, will leave the club on a transfer to Royal Antwerp FC in the first division of Belgium.

Van Damme joined the Galaxy on a free transfer before the 2016 season. He made 46 appearances for the Galaxy.

The Galaxy will receive $235,000 from Royal Antwerp.

“Jelle (Van Damme) came to us and requested to return home to Belgium to be closer to his children,” Galaxy general manager Pete Vagenas said. “We worked closely with Jelle and Royal Antwerp so that we could make this move possible.

“Our top priority remains the success of the L.A. Galaxy. We thank him for his time with our club and wish him the best going forward.”

Van Damme earned two MLS All-Star selections in his brief time with the Galaxy and was selected to the MLS Best XI last season.

During the all-star break, earlier this month, reports from Belgium surfaced of Van Damme possibly being interested in a return home to be near his children.

Earlier this week, Galaxy president Chris Klein told ESPN radio’s Dave Denholm that the club was “working through it.”

“It’s not an ideal situation for us, for Jelle, but there are things when in your personal life that affect your play on the field, and we’ve certainly seen that at different times with Jelle this year,” Klein said.

The Galaxy returns to action Wednesday at Columbus.

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