Andres Perea Granted Permission to Represent United States

Andres Perea is switching (international) sides

The 20-year-old professional soccer player and Orlando City SC midfielder has been granted a one-time switch from Colombia to represent the United States.

Andres Perea

Perea, a Tampa, Florida native, moved to Colombia at an early age, rising through the club ranks at Atletico Nacional. He went on to represent Colombia at the FIFA U17 World Cup in 2017 and U20 World Cup two years later before joining Orlando City on loan last season.

Perea, who’s at the January camp with the U-23 U.S. men’s team, received the news on his switch from senior side coach Gregg Berhalter. Because Perea played for Colombia in official competition, Perea wasn’t able to take part in the USMNT‘s 6-0 win against El Salvador last December.

“It was a very important decision for me. Colombia is my country as well, but it’s an honor for me to represent the United States as I did Colombia in the past,” Perea said.

The players of the U23 side — which will represent the U.S. at the Tokyo Olympics this summer — are training alongside 12 members of the senior group in Bradenton, Florida, with reports of a friendly match against Serbia in the works.

“Andres we find to be a really, really interesting holding midfield player for us,” U.S. U23 coach Jason Kreis said during a conference call. “The amount of ground that he’s capable to cover defensively, I think it’s a little bit different level than some of the other guys that we have in our pool. His processing of the ball, he’s still learning a little bit about that.”

Kreis anticipates men’s Olympic soccer qualifying for North and Central America and the Caribbean will take place during late March in Guadalajara, Mexico, where the CONCACAF tournament last spring was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kreis said he anticipates it will be difficult to access top Europe-based Americans for qualifying. FIFA does not require that clubs release players to under-23 teams. FIFA extended the age limit by a year, keeping the group for qualifying limited to players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997.

Each team reaching the games in Japan can supplement its roster with three players over the age limit. Top Americans are not expected at qualifying, with clubs expected not to make available Christian PulisicWeston McKennieTyler AdamsJoshua Sargent and Giovanni Reyna. All are regulars in league play this season.

Real Madrid’s Marcelo Takes Knee & Raises Fist in Solidarity with BLM Movement After Scoring Goal Against Eibar

Marcelo is taking a new in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement…

The 32-year-old Brazilian soccer player and Real Madrid left-back took a knee and raised his fist after scoring in the team’s 3-1 La Liga victory over Eibar on Sunday.

Marcelo

Marcelo tallied the Real Madrid’s third goal of the day — pouncing on a poor clearance and beating Eibar goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic with a low, driven shot from the edge of the penalty box. 

He then immediately dropped to his knees, lowered his head and raised his right fist — a gesture which is often seen as a symbol of the Black Power movement that gained prominence in the United States in the 1960s and ’70s and associated with the current Black Lives Matter movement.

The display comes as players, clubs and leagues throughout the sport have expressed solidarity in the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a black man, who died after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes in Minnesota. Floyd’s death has spurred demonstrations against racial injustice around the world.

Several clubs paid tributes earlier this month to Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement on their warm-up shirts prior to league matches. Marcus ThuramJadon SanchoAchraf Hakimi and United States international Weston McKennie have been among the players who have showed their support. And last week, the Premier League announcedit will allow players to replace the names on the back of their jerseys with the words “Black Lives Matter” for one round and that teams will wear a patch to show support for the movement for the rest of the season.

FIFA, whose rules prohibit “any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images” on equipment, made a rare public statement last week in which it urged competition organizers to apply “common sense” and consider not sanctioning players for solidarity during matches.