Anton Walkes, who was a defender and midfielder for Charlotte FC, died in a boat accident in Florida, the team announced on Thursday. At the time of his death, he was 25 years old.
The Major League Soccer club said the organization is devastated by the news. “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 statement. “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.”
Walkes was reportedly found unconscious and received CPR from Miami Fire Rescue, according to the Miami Herald. The incident involved two boats crashing near the Miami Marine Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
“He was a tremendous son, father, partner and teammate whose joyous approach to life touched everyone he met,” Charlotte FC owner David Tepper said. “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.”
The British-born player started his soccer career at 16 when he signed with Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. He was loaned to Atlanta United after which he joined League One club Portsmouth in 2017, where he played for several years.
Tributes flowed in from his fans on Twitter.
“Absolutely awful news. Anton came through from Spurs’ academy and made his debut before heading over to MLS. Only 25. No age at all,” one of them said, while another noted, “Lost for words. Rest in peace Anton, you’ll be missed champ!” A third said, “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former player, Anton Walkes. The thoughts of everyone at the Club are with his family and friends at this incredibly sad time.”