Perea, born in Tampa to Colombian parents, holds both US and Colombian citizenship. He moved to Colombia at age five and developed as a soccer player there, entering the Atletico Nacional academy and making his professional debut for the club in 2017 before joining Orlando City last year. While in Colombia, Perea represented the country's youth national team at the U-17 World Cup in 2017 and U-20 World Cup in 2019.
The midfielder was invited to the USMNT's camp last month, but was at the time ineligible to play. He subsequently decided to file his one-time switch, which FIFA approved earlier this month. USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter broke the news to him during a video call.
Perea told US Soccer that the USMNT's current talent pool of young players excelling in the US and in Europe encouraged him to commit to the team.
"Seeing such a young generation motivates me," Perea said. "It’s a generation that is playing well in Europe, and that motivates you knowing that you can be part of this process. It influences you a lot because they’re young players who have a lot of aspirations."
Perea is currently with Jason Kreis' U-23 team as they prepare for March's Olympic qualifying tournament, but could make his senior team debut in a friendly to close out January camp; the opponent and date of the game is still to be announced.