Anton Walkes, a soccer player who was a member of the Charlotte FC of MLS, died on Thursday morning, the team announced. He was 25 years old. According to ESPN, Walkes was involved in a boating accident near Miami Marine Stadium on Wednesday and was unconscious when first responders reached him. TMZ Sports added the accident involved two boats and Walkes was operating one of the vessels.
"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," Charlotte FC 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. 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."
Walkes was selected by Charlott FC in the 2021 MLS Expansion Draft as the franchise was new to MLS. During the 2022 season, Walkes appeared in 24 matches including one appearance in the National Cup. He spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons with Atlanta United and scored two goals in 50 appearances. He made his MLS Debut in 2017 when he played in 20 matches with Atlanta United on a loan. In his pro soccer career, Walkes also played for Tottenham Hotspur of the Premiere League and Portsmouth of League One.
"We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of Anton Walkes," Atlanta United said in a statement. "An inaugural member of Atlanta United, Anton was the epitome of a great teammate with a personality that lit up every room he entered. He will be deeply missed by all of those who knew him. On behalf of everyone at Atlanta United, we send our deepest condolences to Anton's family, friends and Charlotte FC."
"There are no words to describe the sorrow of everyone in Major League Soccer today after learning of the tragic passing of Anton Walkes of Charlotte FC," MLS added in its statement. "Anton was a talented and dedicated player who was loved by his teammates and fans."