Anton Walkes of Major League Soccer’s Charlotte FC franchise died Thursday after a boat crash on waters near Miami Marine Stadium.
Charlotte FC announced Walkes’ death Thursday morning. He was 25.
A statement from Charlotte FC Sporting Director Zoran Krneta called Walkes, “a truly incredible father, loving person and outstaning human being” and the embodiment of “what it meants to be part of Charlotte Football Club.”
“The impact he made in the locker room and throughout Charlotte will never be forgotten,” Krneta said.
“He was a tremendous son, father, partner and teammate, whose joyous approach to life touched everyone he met,” a statement from Charlotte FC owner David Tepper said. “Anton made those around him better people in all areas of life and represented Charlotte FC to the highest standard both on and off the pitch.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Walkes was found unconscious after two vessels collided around 3 p.m. Wednesday. He received CPR from Miami Fire Rescue before being hospitalized in critical condition.
The Charlotte Observer reported that Walkes was in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area with Charlotte FC as the team held a 12-day training camp in Fort Lauderdale to start the 2023 preseason.
The Lewisham, England, native first signed as a 16-year-old with Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League. After one appearance with Spurs, Walkes was loaned to Portsmouth of England’s League One and the MLS’ Atlanta United in 2017. Two seasons in Portsmouth were followed by two seasons with Atlanta United.
Though he started 64 of 70 total games with Atlanta United over 2017 and 2020-2021, Walkes was left exposed for the 2021 expansion draft and Charlotte selected him. Walkes started 21 games in 23 appearances last season.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his partner, family, friends and the entire Charlotte FC family,” Major League Soccer said via Twitter. “MLS is coordinating with Charlotte FC to provide players and family members with the resources and support they may need during this tragic time.”
This story was originally published January 19, 2023 9:27 AM.