Authorities reported Thursday that professional football player Anton Walkes died from injuries received in a boat disaster off the coast of Miami.
What happened to Anton Walkes?
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Walkes, 25, was unconscious and hospitalized after two boats collided in the Miami Marine Stadium basin on Wednesday.
According to the state agency, Walkes was operating one of the crashed boats.
It was unclear if anyone else was hurt. The probe is still underway.
Defender Walkes was in his second season with the MLS team Charlotte FC. The club had landed in Fort Lauderdale on January 9 for its first leg of preseason training, with a friendly against St. Louis set for Saturday. That game has been called off.
Charlotte FC owner David Tepper said the team was “devastated” by Anton Walkes’ terrible death.
He was a great son
“He was a fantastic son, father, partner, and teammate whose happy attitude to life inspired everyone he encountered,” Tepper said in a statement released by the club.
Walkes signed with Charlotte for the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2022. This season, he appeared in 23 games with 21 starts and had five shots on goal.
“Anton made those around him better people in all aspects of life, and he represented Charlotte FC to the greatest standard on and off the field,” Tepper added.
On Thursday, fans began leaving flowers outside the east entrance of Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.
Walkes began his career at Tottenham Hotspur and played for Portsmouth before joining Atlanta United in Major League Soccer for three seasons.
“There are no words to explain the anguish of everyone in Major League Soccer tonight,” the MLS said.
“Anton was a skilled and committed player who was liked by his teammates and fans,” according to the statement.
Jose Fernandez, a standout pitcher for the Miami Marlins, was killed in a boat collision off Miami Beach in 2016. According to officials, Fernandez and two other persons perished after their 32-foot yacht collided with a jetty.
Jaylin Lindsey, a Charlotte FC player, said he was “heartbroken” to learn of Walkes’ death.
“Fly high, my brother, you’re the finest teammate I could have hoped for,” Lindsey said on Twitter. “I adore you, guy.”
Anton Walkes Career
Anton Walkes rose through Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur’s youth system before moving on to Portsmouth and Atlanta United.
Walkes returned to the United States on loan to join Atlanta in 2017, the club’s inaugural MLS season, and subsequently signed a permanent deal with the club in 2020 following another term at Portsmouth.
After that, Walkes joined Charlotte FC for the 2022 MLS season.
“We are sorry to learn of Anton Walkes’ terrible demise,” his old team Atlanta United FC said in a statement. “As an original member of Atlanta United, Anton was the embodiment of a terrific teammate, with a charisma that brightened up every place he visited.
“He will be sadly missed by those who knew him. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to Anton’s family, friends, and Charlotte FC on behalf of everyone at Atlanta United.”
Charlotte FC’s sports director, Zoran Krneta, said the team is “heartbroken” by the passing of “a genuinely amazing parent, caring guy, and outstanding human being.”
“Anton personified what it means to be a part of the Charlotte Football Club, and our entire community is in mourning as a result of this tragedy,” Krneta continued.
“The effect he had in the locker room and around Charlotte will never be forgotten. We are thinking about his wonderful family during this difficult time and will help them in every way we can.”
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