The deal is pending league and federation approval and per club and league policy, specifics on the contract were not disclosed.
Fernandes, 25, who grew up in North Babylon, joins the Rowdies after spending last season in Major League Soccer with the Philadelphia Union. He had been with the Union since 2013, but had been sent on loan several times including to the New York Cosmos in 2015.
While with the Cosmos that season, Fernandes was selected as the North American Soccer League’s Young Player of the Year. That season, he played in 28 matches for the Cosmos, scoring eight goals and tallying three assists while helping New York to the NASL Championship.
“Leo is a player that we’ve been watching for a while because he was so impressive for the Cosmos in 2015,” said Stuart Campbell, Tampa’s head coach. “We’re excited to see what he can do for the Rowdies given his experience. He’s a quick player that gives us width and he can pop up and score a few goals, too, which is always nice.”
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, but raised in New York, Fernandes played his college career at Stony Brook University from 2009 to 2012, finishing his collegiate careers as the Seawolves’ all-time leading points scorer.
The Union selected Fernandes 62nd overall in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft and he split his time between the Union and the USL’s Harrisburg City Islanders that season.
Fernandes made his mark on Philadelphia’s first team in 2014, scoring twice in 13 appearances, but again spent part of the season on loan with the Islanders.
After his strong showing in 2015 with the Cosmos, Fernandes rejoined Philadelphia for 2016, splitting his time between the first team in MLS and the Union’s USL team, the Bethlehem Steel. Fernandes made 12 appearances for the Union last year and 14 (all starts) for the Steel. He scored one goal for Bethlehem.