Leo Afonso, the new Brazilian teammate of Lionel Messi at Inter Miami

Get to know more about the Brazilian youngster who got promoted to the Herons' senior squad
Martín O'Donnell
2024-04-03 18:00:24

Shortly after Gregore and Jean Mota left, Brazil will once again have a representative next to Lionel Messi at Inter Miami. We’re talking about Leo Afonso, who was promoted to the senior squad after making an impression with the team’s affiliate side.

The 22-year-old, who was selected with the 32nd overall pick by Miami in the MLS SuperDraft 2024, has signed a contract through the 2024 MLS season with club options for the next three years. In 2024, he recorded four goals in just two games for Inter Miami II in the MLS NEXT Pro.


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At 5.9, the São Paulo native is a tall striker who can also operate as a winger. Afonso made a name for himself in his collegiate career, recording an impressive 22 goals and eight assists in 59 appearances for the University of Virginia.

The Brazilian was part of the Inter Miami academy from 2019 to 2020, but gained experience with the Virginia Cavaliers before returning to South Florida, making his pro debut for Inter Miami II this year.

A young striker that will not occupy an International Roster Slot, Afonso could provide an alternative to Leo Campana as a backup option up front behind Uruguayan superstar Luis Suárez.

Afonso excited to play for Inter Miami

“I’m excited to officially sign my First Team contract and start an exciting new chapter in my career with this great Club,” Afonso said in a club statement. “I’ve dreamed of this moment since I started here in 2019 and got a glimpse of this in our inaugural preseason. I always knew I wanted to come back and now we’re making that dream a reality. I’m ready to give my all for Inter Miami on and off the field.”

Inter Miami coach Gerardo Martino has already given Afonso playing time, with the Brazilian coming on for Robert Taylor 59 minutes into the 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls. Last time out, he also played the last 13 minutes in the 1-1 draw against New York City FC.

“Leo is a promising attacker that we have known for a long time, and he earned his spot on the First Team through his performances with Inter Miami CF II, and in his two previous MLS appearances with the team while on short-term agreements,” said Inter Miami Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director Chris Henderson. “We’re proud of the progress he has made since first joining our Academy in 2019, and we’re excited to sign him to the First Team as the next step in his journey with the Club. We look forward to further fostering his development within our system.”