LA Galaxy transfer team captain Jelle Van Damme to Royal Antwerp FC

Jelle Van Damme - LA Galaxy - March 2016

The reports were true. Jelle Van Damme is no longer a member of the LA Galaxy.

The Galaxy announced on Friday that they have completed the transfer of Van Damme, who joins Royal Antwerp FC in his native Belgium. LA received $235,000 from Antwerp FC for the 33-year-old central defender. 

“Jelle came to us and requested to return home to Belgium to be closer to his children,” Galaxy general manager Pete Vagenas said in a statement released by the club. “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.”

Van Damme departs the Galaxy after joining the club on a free transfer prior to the 2016 season. He made 46 appearances, all starts, for LA, and earned honors as a 2016 MLS Best XI Defender and two-time MLS All-Star. Van Damme, who served as the team captain this year, was also named the Galaxy Defender of the Year a season ago.

The veteran, who had been linked with an LA exit for days, took to his Instagram account on Friday to bid farewell and express gratitude to Galaxy fans.

LA will play their first game without Van Damme next Wednesday, when they visit Columbus Crew SC (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE).