Charlotte FC defender dies after boating accident in Florida, officials say

19 January 2023

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) — Charlotte FC defender Anton Walkes died early Thursday morning after a boat crash in south Florida, the club has confirmed.

The incident happened around 3 p.m. Wednesday near the Miami Marine Stadium basin, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a news release.

FWC officers said Walkes was operating one of the two boats involved in the accident. He was found unconscious and was taken to shore where he received CPR before being taken to the hospital.

The 25-year-old was part of Charlotte FC’s inaugural MLS season.

“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,” said owner David Tepper. “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.” 

Sporting Director Zoran Krneta said Walkes embodied what it meant to be a part of Charlotte FC.

“We are heartbroken from the loss of Anton Walkes, a truly incredible father, loving person, and outstanding human being,” Krneta said. “The impact he made in the locker room and throughout Charlotte will never be forgotten.”

Krneta said the club would fully support Walkes family “in every way imaginable.”

Walkes began his career with English Premier League club Tottenham and also played for Portsmouth before signing with Atlanta United in MLS.

No additional details about the crash were immediately available.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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