Buidling Dreams Together


Oscar Perea: Colombia’s latest gem

Since the exportation of players like James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado, Colombia has seen a prolonged drought of up and coming talent. However, the volume of rising stars being produced looks to be on the up.

Luis Diaz is the most notable in recent years, a product of Junior Barranquilla and nurtured in Porto. The winger moved to Liverpool in January 2022 and played in the Champions League final that season.

Jhon Duran, Luis Sinisterra and Yasper Asprilla have also made the move to England. Yerson Mosquera is another example on this, currently plying his trade on loan for Cincinnati from Wolves.

One player in particular, however, still resides in Colombia – and is already making waves this season. The player in question is Oscar Perea, playing for Atletico Nacional in Primera A.

Nacional currently sit 2nd in the Clausura (closing) section of the league, with Perea recently becoming a staple in the first team at the Medellin club.

Before we delve into Perea’s style of play, let’s take a look at the player’s background.

Who is Oscar Perea?
(Photo via Futbolete)

Perea is a 17-year-old (soon to be 18) winger. He was born in Pereira, Risaralda, and certainly did not have things easy growing up. When speaking to https://semillerosdeportivos.com, his mother stated that his father died following a work accident while Oscar was barely five months old.

Following this, they moved to Santa Cecilia where a young Perea began playing football at the Benko Biojo School. His mother – Adriana – further stated that his uncle wanted him to enter a soccer school in Palmira, where he enjoyed a spell at Envigado Club. However, this was short lived as the family moved back to Pereira following Adriana meeting her current partner.

Perea’s ‘big break’ came after a friend invited him to trial at La Cantera in 2018. Following a successful trial period, the winger was offered a scholarship.

(Photo via Club La Cantera FC)

In his time at the club, Daniel Bedoya (a coach at La Cantera) stated that Perea “was able to score 70 or 80 goals.” As such, he was rewarded with a call up to the 2005 Risaralda national team, where he played five games.

After a successful campaign with La Cantera in 2020, Perea was taken to trial for Atletico Nacional. His trial period was successful, but he was unable to join the club until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the same year that he joined Nacional, he became the u17 national champion with seven goals (and one in the final) throughout the tournament.

In 2022, Perea made his debut for Nacional, coming on in the 75th minute against Deportivo La Equidad. Upon making his debut, Perea said:

“Since I was 8 years old I played soccer in the neighborhood there in Santa Cecilia, soccer was my life, I have fought until I achieved it, I thought I was going to debut at 18 years old, but it was quick.

What kind of player is Perea?
(Photo via Radio Munera)

Since making his debut for Nacional, Perea has racked up four goals and three assists in competitive games. A large portion of his contributions have come recently, as he has become a regular starter in Nacional’s team in the first half of the league’s Clausura stage. In ten appearances, he started seven – scoring twice and providing one assist.

Perea is a left winger by trade, often used as an inverted winger to capitalise on his stronger right foot. He is an agile dribbler, able to draw defenders in and beat them with remarkable skill and by bursting into space in behind with lightning pace.

There are already clear signs of a prolific goalscoring wide-man in Perea. His ball-striking is reminiscent of Marcus Rashford; with low, driven shots arrowed across the face of goal. This can also be seen when he cuts inside from the left, often preferring to target his shots toward the near post with slight finesse. With efficient coaching and age on his side, becoming a high-volume output machine is certainly possible.

The defensive willingness of the winger should also not be undermined. Perea can often be seen pressing fullbacks in possession to fashion chances in behind for himself. This often leads to him bearing down on goal, able to either take it round the keeper himself or create an opportunity for a teammate.

In terms of his passing, his delivery from set-pieces show the most promise so far. When creating chances from open play, he is often limited by his decision making; there are plenty of occasions where he is unsure of when to hold the ball or release, leading to many attempts (at both shots and crosses alike) being cut out.

Overall, the signs of Perea becoming a mercurial attacking talent are certainly in place. With at least another year before the winger can move abroad (particularly to Europe), he has time to hone his craft in somewhat of a more ‘low-pressure’ environment.

While there are areas that needed to be worked on for the 17-year-old, this is only a natural sign of his youth and lack of experience. As previously mentioned; with careful coaching and patience, the attacking talent on display could explode. It is no doubt that Perea will be of importance to the Colombian national team in years to come.