Jan 21, 2023 - News

Charlotte FC player Anton Walkes dead at age 25

Anton Walkes after Charlotte FC's first win. Photo: Andy Weber/Axios

Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes died Thursday morning after a boating accident in Florida, where the team was training for preseason. He was 25 years old.

What happened: Walkes was found in critical condition after two boats crashed on Jan. 18, the Miami Herald reported. Walkes was found unconscious and received CPR from Miami Fire Rescue, per the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

  • The club confirmed his death but offered no further comments at this time.
  • Charlotte FC supporters organized a vigil on Jan. 19 outside the East Gate at Bank of America Stadium.

Celebration of life: The club will host a celebration of life on Jan. 24 at 3pm.

  • Gates open at 2pm and you must enter through the East Gate on Mint Street.
  • Bag policies will remain the same as match day, meaning clear bags will be required.
  • Food and drinks will not be sold.
  • The club is encouraging supporters to wear black club gear.

What they’re saying: “Everyone at Tepper Sports & Entertainment is devastated by the tragic passing of Anton Walkes. He was a tremendous son, father, partner and teammate whose joyous approach to life touched everyone he met,” team owner David Tepper said in a statement.

  • “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,” Tepper added. “He will be greatly missed by many and our thoughts and prayers are with Anton’s family during this heartbreaking time. The Club offers its full support to all those impacted during this period of mourning.”
  • “We are heartbroken from the loss of Anton Walkes, a truly incredible father, loving person, and outstanding human being,” sporting director Zoran Krneta said in a statement. “Anton embodied what it means to be a part of Charlotte Football Club and our entire community is grieving over this tragedy. The impact he made in the locker room and throughout Charlotte will never be forgotten. We are thinking of his lovely family during this time and will support them fully in every way imaginable.”

Flashback: Walkes, who grew up in England, joined Charlotte in December 2021 from Atlanta. He played 1,805 minutes for Charlotte, starting 21 of the 23 matches he appeared in.

  • Much of his MLS career was spent in Atlanta. He was part of the Tottenham Hotspur academy before signing a professional contract in England. They wore black armbands in Thursday’s Premier League match against Manchester City and their academy teams wore black armbands in this weekend’s games.

Parting thoughts: Walkes was a key piece in Charlotte FC’s inaugural season. He had high expectations for the club heading into their second season. 

  • “There’s no excuses this year. Last year, expansion year, it’s always getting to come together and know each other, get to familiar grounds, but all of that’s out of the way,” Walkes said on Jan. 10 in Florida. “We had a good first year and we need to build on it.” 

Photos: Charlotte FC players, Tepper mourn late Anton Walkes at vigil

Editor’s note: This story was originally published on Jan. 19 and has been updated to include information about the celebration of life. 

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Charlotte.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Charlotte stories

No stories could be found

Charlottepostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Charlotte.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more