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Charlotte FC player dies following boating accident in South Florida

Walkes was just 25 years old at the time of his death.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Football Club defender Anton Walkes died early Thursday morning following a boating accident in South Florida, the club announced.

Walkes was 25.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Walkes was a passenger on a Yamaha personal watercraft when the basin made contact with a Scarab cabin boat on the water on Wednesday around 3 p.m. in Biscayne Bay north of Rickenbacker Causeway.

Officials said Walkes was found unconscious and transported to shore by Miami Fire Rescue where he received CPR. Walkes was taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries Thursday morning, officials said. 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission identified Eric Olsson of Pompano Beach as the operator of the Scarab cabin boat and Marie-Luise Taubert as the operator of the Yamaha personal watercraft.

Officers did not indicate if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

“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,” 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. 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.”  

Major League Soccer released the following statement:

"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. 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."

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Walkes, an England native, turned pro in 2016 after developing in Tottenham Hotspur's academy. He played in 93 MLS games, also spending three seasons (2017, 2021-22) at Atlanta United. Charlotte selected Walkes in the 2021 MLS Expansion Draft, incorporating the center back into their debut campaign.

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