Orlando's Colombian youth international Andres Perea "very close" to deciding whether to switch to USMNT

Andres Perea - Orlando City - head up dribbling

Andres Perea is coming off a successful rookie season in MLS that saw him become a regular contributor for an Orlando City SC side that experienced its best year in the league to date.

The 20-year-old midfielder appeared in 23 games for the Lions in 2020, starting 11 of them and showing consistent enough form that Orlando City exercised his contract option to make his loan from Colombian side Atletico Nacional a permanent transfer. As he looks to continue his ascent in 2021, the question as to which country Perea will choose to represent at the international level has already become a topic of discussion.

Perea has dual citizenship with both Colombia and the United States, and has featured regularly for Colombia on the youth circuit for both the U-17 and U-20s. In December, he was called up to US men's national team camp ahead of their friendly with El Salvador after FC Cincinnati midfielder Frankie Amaya withdrew following a positive COVID-19 test. In a feature published on Monday on AmericanSoccerNow, Perea said it won't be long before he makes a decision on which country he'll represent at the senior level.

“It is a difficult decision,” Perea said. “I played such a long time with Colombia, there is a deep feeling there, but to play for the U.S. would also be very wonderful, so I have had to take my time to decide. The decision is not long away from being made, it’s actually very close.

“It fills you with emotions for what it means in your career. It’s such a great part of football. All those emotions and opinions, all those things, it makes you take the necessary time to have a cool head to organize your thoughts to make the best decision.”

While he still has a long way to go at just 20 years old, Perea is certainly an intriguing prospect, both for Orlando City and the USMNT. Regardless of which country he winds up picking, his focus at the club level will be continuing his ascent in 2021, something that could make the Lions even more formidable as Oscar Pareja and his group look to build on their success in 2020.