Charlotte FC prepares for first home match after Walkes’ death

CHARLOTTE — It’s been three weeks since the tragic death of Anton Walkes in a Florida boat crash, and since then his Charlotte FC teammates have faced constant reminders of his absence.

An abrupt schedule change may make Saturday one of the most difficult days as the team will take the field, in Charlotte, for the first time without Walkes.

The club’s return to the Queen City comes earlier than expected. The threat of severe weather led to a friendly match against the Charleston Battery being moved from the South Carolina coast to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

The upcoming home match will mean stepping back on the turf they shared with Wilkes for so many matches, moments and memories.

“We’re all going to remember, and we still think about playing with Anton in the Bank (of America Stadium),” midfielder Brandt Bronico said on Thursday. “We saw each other every single day, last year, a lot of us did, so it’s like I said, it’s not been easy, but also like I mentioned, we’re going up there and we’re playing for Anton and dedicating the season to him.”

Bronico said Walkes’ memory would be an inspiration for the team to get results that would make him proud.

The team announced the creation of the AW5 Family Fund to support Walkes’ family. Charlotte FC and its owners -- David and Nicole Tepper -- said they will match up to $500,000 in donations. Find the full fundraiser HERE.

(WATCH BELOW: Soccer fans around the world mourn loss of Charlotte FC’s Anton Walkes)

Comments on this article