Jelle Van Damme

Jelle Van Damme is a Belgian left back who was born in Lokeren, Belgium on 10th October 1983. Van Damme began his career at Beveren, before moving to Lokeren as a youngster. He made his professional debut with Germinal Beerschot, who he signed with in 2001. Van Damme's performances won him a trial at Ajax in February 2002.

On 1st August 2002 Van Damme signed for Ajax. He became a regular for the club in 2002/03, before breaking his toe in November. Van Damme lost his place to Brazilian Maxwell on his return, but did play his part in Ajax's run to the Champions League quarter-finals. The tall fullback started in the 3-2 defeat at Milan on 23rd April 2003. On 23rd March 2003 Van Damme was capped by Belgium for the first time in a 4-0 loss to Croatia, and has been a fixture for the Red Devils ever since. He played second fiddle to Maxwell yet again in 2003/04, as Ajax lifted the Eredivise title.

On 9th June 2004 Southampton signed Van Damme for £2,500,000. He made his debut as a late sub in a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on 28th August 2004. Van Damme was given a spell in the Saints starting eleven in October 2004 when Graeme Le Saux was injured, but failed make much of an impression. After Le Saux returned to action, Van Damme was consigned to the sidelines for the remainder of 2004/05, making just a single appearance in the second half of the campaign. Van Damme spent 2005/06 on loan at Werder Bremen, but managed just 3 starts for the Bundesliga runners up.

Van Damme returned to Belgium in June 2006 when he signed for Anderlect. The former Ajax defender got his career back on track with The Purple and White, picking up a league winners medal in his first campaign with the club. Van Damme also represented the club in Europe, where he picked up a red card in a Champions League group match with Lille. He was involved in a nasty incident during the 2008/09 Championship play off between Standard Liege, when Standard defender Oguchi Onyewu accused him of racial abuse. 'The Gooch' sued Van Damme, who he says called him a "dirty monkey". Van Damme picked up another Belgian title in 2010.

On June 1st 2010 Wolves signed Van Damme for an undisclosed fee. Southampton received 10-15% of the fee received from Wolves after inserting a sell on clause into the defenders contract. Van Damme made his Wolves debut on 14th August 2010 in a 2-1 win over Stoke. He scored his first goal for Mick McCarthy's side on 11th September 2010 in a 2-1 defeat at Fulham. Van Damme failed to settle at Molineux however, and was dropped from the side just weeks after joining. On 29th November the Belgian international signed a pre contract agreement with Standard Liege.

Van Damme's move to Standard was made official in January 2011. Ironically his debut came at former club Anderlect on 23rd January 2011 in a 2-0 defeat. He scored his first goal for the club on 29th January in a 2-1 win over Westerlo. Van Damme also scored the opener in Standard's 4-2 Belgian Cup Final victory over Gent on 6th April 2011.

Away from football, Van Damme is married to former tennis player Elke Clijsters, sister of Kim