MLS Ticker: Van Damme close to new contract, Atlanta releases preseason schedule and more

MLS Ticker: Van Damme close to new contract, Atlanta releases preseason schedule and more

MLS- San Jose Earthquakes

MLS Ticker: Van Damme close to new contract, Atlanta releases preseason schedule and more

Photo by Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports

Photo by Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports

Among all the roster fluctuation taking place at StubHub Center this offseason, one key piece from the 2016 squad is set to receive a new deal for his play since arriving from Belgium. Center back Jelle Van Damme will reportedly start the 2017 season as a Designated Player.

The MLS Best XI honoree won’t finish the season as a DP, as the Galaxy will buy his new contract down with targeted allocation money. The Galaxy are planning to do this with a third DP signing in mind for midseason.

The physical Belgian made 28 appearances in his debut season with the Galaxy. In addition to being named to the MLS Best XI for 2016, Van Damme was a finalist for the Defender of the Year award, where he finished second behind Matt Hedges.

Atlanta United announces preseason schedule

With the preseason just a week away, one of the two expansion sides in MLS announced its plans to prepare for its inaugural season. Atlanta United will begin its training on January 24 in Florida.

Tata Martino’s men will train at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida before moving to Chattanooga ahead of its February 11 friendly with FC Chattanooga. After another week of training, United will head to Charleston, South Carolina to play in the Carolina Challenge Cup against Columbus, Seattle and the Charleston Battery.

Gerrard returns to Liverpool in academy role

It didn’t take long for Steven Gerrard to find a new role after his retirement from the LA Galaxy. The midfielder, who was one of many stars to leave the club after the 2016 season, is returning to Liverpool in an academy role.

Gerrard spent 17 years as a professional at Liverpool before moving to MLS to join up with the star-studded Galaxy. The Liverpool legend will be cast in a wide-ranging role that helps with all facets of player development at the club’s academy.

San Jose’s jersey sponsor files for bankruptcy

Just one day after MLS received some great news regarding jersey sponsorship, one could be in danger after Avaya, the San Jose Earthquakes sponsor, filed for bankruptcy. There’s no official word yet on how the situation at Avaya will affect the Earthquakes. whose stadium rights also belong to Avaya.

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