Jan 25, 2023 - News

Photos: A celebration of the life of Charlotte FC player Anton Walkes

Photo: Andy Weber/Axios

Hundreds gathered at Bank of America Stadium Tuesday to honor Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes.

State of play: The 25-year-old died on Jan. 19 following a boating accident in Florida, where the team was training to start preseason.

Details: Sun peered into the stadium on friends, family, teammates and supporters who gathered to remember Walkes. Team owner David Tepper was also among them.

  • North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper sent a video message of support, as did Walkes’ former clubs in England, Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as friends back in England. Every player wore a black jersey, with Walkes’ No. 5 on the back.
  • “You can understand why not one, but two clubs wanted him in their back line in their inaugural season,” Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said of Walkes playing for both Charlotte and rival Atlanta United during their inaugural season.
  • Atlanta vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra and former teammates Josef Martínez and Brad Guzan were also in attendance.

With tears in his eyes, Mohamed Khalifa, a close friend, shared how Walkes was in the process of buying his mother a house. Khalifa promised to always be there for Walkes’ daughter Ayla and girlfriend Alexis, as well as the rest of Walkes’ family. 

  • Teammate Andre Shinyashiki recalled scoring against Nashville and how Walkes grabbed his jersey and his face and told him, “‘kiss this badge man, this is our club, our house. We don’t let anybody come in here and disrespect us.'”

What’s next: Charlotte opens the regular season at home on Feb. 25 against New England Revolution. Walkes’ legacy will be with the club from the first minute to the final whistle, players and coaches say.

  • “He will be with us home and away and the strength that we will have this season, without a doubt, will come from Anton,” head coach Christian Lattanzio said.
Charlotte FC forward Andre Shinyashiki. Photo: Andy Weber/Axios
Photo: Andy Weber/Axios
Gov. Roy Cooper. Photo: Andy Weber/Axios
Charlotte FC head coach Christian Lattanzio. Photo: Andy Weber/Axios
Charlotte FC technical director Bobby Belair. Photo: Andy Weber/Axios
Inter Miami striker Josef Martínez (left) and MLS commissioner Don Garber. Photo: Andy Weber/Axios
MLS commissioner Don Garber. Photo: Andy Weber/Axios
Charlotte FC players walking out of the tunnel. Photo: Andy Weber/Axios
Josef Martínez (center) and Carlos Bocanegra (right, Atlanta United VP and technical director). Photo: Andy Weber/Axios
Photo: Andy Weber/Axios
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