Soccer world mourns loss of Charlotte FC's Anton Walkes
Charlotte FC announced on Thursday that defender Anton Walkes died in a boating crash in Miami. On Friday, tributes poured in locally and from across the soccer world.
Walkes had been at a training camp to prepare for his second season with Charlotte's Major League Soccer club. Last season, Walkes played in 23 matches, starting in 21.
According to media reports Friday, Walkes was a passenger on an 11-foot Yamaha personal watercraft — commonly referred to as a jetski or WaveRunner — that collided with a larger boat Wednesday. He was found unconscious in the water and pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Fans, family, teammates and teams all shared messages on social media to mourn the loss of Walkes. In Charlotte, fans gathered at the team's home stadium uptown to pay their respects to Walkes.
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There was a reason I put @AntonWalkes' name on my first @CharlotteFC shirt, and not just because he came from @SpursOfficial's academy. He genuinely loved life here and it was contagious, through the rest of the squad to us in the Supporters Section.— James Pike (@JamesVPike) January 19, 2023
One of our own, always. https://t.co/HUe2XmFJLI
The outpouring of love and support shown to our Charlotte FC family from across the world over the past 24 means more to us than you can ever know. Rest in Peace, Anton. You were the best of the best and the world needs more of you. 💙 pic.twitter.com/uR6OYpbhcD— Woody Wilder (@Woody_Wilder) January 20, 2023
Walkes began his professional career in England, playing for the Premier League soccer club Tottenham Hotspur in 2013. He spent time at English soccer Portsmouth FC from 2018 to 2020.
Charlotte FC was scheduled to play a closed-door friendly match with St. Louis FC on Saturday. That match has been canceled.