Oakland Roots sign striker Anuar Peláez

Oakland Roots announced that they have finally added a striker to the roster in Colombian Anuar Peláez.

The blog has been intimated that signing another center forward is still a possibility for them. Although adding another player at the position is still something to keep an eye, this answers a pressing need for Oakland with the preseason fast approaching.

He becomes the 21st player on the 2023 roster and marks the fifth international signing. Roots now have four international slots left, the full list includes:

  1. Darek Formella (Poland)
  2. Anuar Peláez (Colombia)
  3. Trayvone Reid (Jamaica)
  4. Edgardo Rito (Venezuela)
  5. Kevin Wright (England, Sierra Leone)

Peláez just turned 30-years-old on February 1 and enters with a Transfermarkt value of €300,000, which ties him for the highest on the team alongside Kevin Wright. Peláez’s value becomes increasingly impressive considering he made his debut in Venezuela’s Primera Division at 28-years-old with two seasons of activity in 2021-2022 on Hermanos Colmenarez.

He made 63 appearances and scored 21 goals while in the first division with Hermanos Colmenarez, making 13 in 2021 and eight in 2022. Anuar became the Venezuelan club’s second highest goal scorer of all time in its seven year history with 31 total from his combined time in the second-division. He departed from Hermanos Colmenarez under a mutual agreement to part ways.

The striker enters as the presumptive starter in Oakland’s 9-role and is the physical type of center forward that has become typical for Roots under technical director Jordan Ferrell. His highlight reel shows a player who has a high degree of spatial awareness, makes quick decisions on the ball, has the ability to shrug off contact, and a clear willingness to line up shots from distance. There were no statistics on assists coming from Venezuela, but the reel below shows several instances where Peláez make instinctive passes with weight and even a nifty backheel flick that led to a goal.

His Story

Getting your first appearance with a first-division club at 28-years-old in Venezuela is certainly unusual. Peláez actually began his youth career with Barranquilla FC of Colombia’s second division at 17 but was cut after playing out his youth cycle at 20. He signed with Atlético Guanare in Venezuela’s second division in 2017 and joined Hermanos Colmenarez the following year, eventually helping them earn promotion to the top tier.

So, why were there such long lapses in his career? Well, this amazing Twitter thread from 2021 goes into great detail of Peláez’s path.

Peláez’s story is one of triumph, persistence, and perseverance. After finishing his youth cycle at Barranquilla FC of Colombia, he traveled “from one city to another” in search of proving himself to professional teams and nearly walked away from the game at 22-years-old. While attending college, Anuar played against another school in Barranquilla and was spotted by a scout, Arbey Cordoba, who brought him to Venezuela.

“I got up and felt like an impulse from God telling me: Get up, today is your day,” said Peláez.

He ventured to Atlético Guanare in 2016 but had to wait for the club to earn a promotion to Venezuela’s second division because they were unable to sign international players at the time. While he waited for an opportunity, he began working as a taxi driver in Barranquilla until Guanare was promoted in 2017.

Anuar debuted with Guanare at 24-years-old, scoring four goals until the club was demoted, which resulted in them losing the right to sign international players and him becoming a free agent once again

In 2018, Peláez approached Hermanos Colmenarez about a tryout after it was promoted to the second division, eventually earning a backup role and scored seven goals to get them promoted to the first division in Venezuela. However, the team was unable to sign foreign players without a work visa later that year and forced him back to Colombia.

After that, Anuar did whatever he could to get by. He worked painting houses before taking a job for an advertising company in Medellin. Peláez called 2019 “a difficult year” without soccer in his life. At 26, Peláez was approached by the president of Hermanos Colmenarez indicating that they are able to field a roster spot for him the following year. However, the striker admitted that he “wasn’t in shape.”

“The president believed in me and convinced me to come back,” said Anuar.

Peláez returned to Hermanos Colmenarez prior to the pandemic and made a preseason appearance in February 2020. Later on in November, Anuar returned to the club’s starting 11 in the second division of Venezuelan futbol and eventually helped them earn promotion. He then made his first-division debut in 2021, finishing as the team-leader in goals.

Roots clearly found a player who has fought from the bottom to prove himself in the game he loves, overcoming setbacks along his path. Far away from his home in South America, Peláez is now on the adventure of his lifetime in Oakland, California.

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