Anton Walkes, a Major League Soccer defender who played for Charlotte FC, has died, the league and the club announced Thursday. He was 25.
Walkes, who is originally from England, died after suffering critical injuries in a boat crash near Miami Marine Stadium in Florida on Wednesday, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commissioner.
The soccer player was found unconscious and received CPR from Miami Fire Rescue personnel, according to the Miami Herald.
He had been playing in MLS full-time since 2020. He joined Atlanta United in 2017 and then rejoined in 2020 prior to the coronavirus-impacted season and played for the club for two years. He joined Charlotte in 2022 and appeared in 23 matches.
“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 said in a tweet. “Anton was a talented and dedicated player who was loved by his teammates and fans.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his partner, family, friends and the entire Charlotte FC family. MLS is coordinating with Charlotte FC to provide players and family members with the resources and support they may need during this tragic time.”
Charlotte FC team owner David Tepper and sporting director Zoran Krneta also released statements.
“Everyone at Tepper Sports & Entertainment is devastated by the tragic passing of Anton Walkes,” Tepper’s statement read. “He was a tremendous son, father, partner and teammate whose joyous approach to life touched everyone he met. Anton made those around him better in all areas of life and represented Charlotte FC to the highest standard both on and off the pitch. He will greatly be 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.”
Krneta added: “We are heartbroken from the loss of Anton Walkes, a truly incredible father, loving person and outstanding human being. 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.”
Walkes got his soccer career started when he was 19 years old with Tottenham’s Premier League 2 squad. He eventually moved up to Portsmouth in League One before going to Atlanta United.
He appeared in 140 matches and had six goals to his record.