Major League Soccer

Charlotte FC agree new contracts with defenders Anton Walkes & Joseph Mora

Chris Smith
Walkes was an eye-catching pick-up in the Expansion Draft for CLTFC.
Walkes was an eye-catching pick-up in the Expansion Draft for CLTFC. /

Charlotte FC have signed defenders Anton Walkes and Joseph Mora to new contracts ahead of their inaugural season in Major League Soccer.

The duo were picked up by the club in the recent Expansion Draft, with Walkes arriving from Atlanta United and Mora coming from DC United.

Walkes was a particularly eye-catching capture having played 33 of Atlanta's 34 regular-season games in 2021 and spoke to 90min recently of his disappointment in how his exit was handled. His new deal will keep him in the Queen City through 2024 while Mora has signed until 2023 - the club have options on both players through 2025.

“We’re delighted to sign both Anton and Joseph to longer-term contracts ahead of our inaugural season. We have a plan in place for building this roster for the long-term and extending the deals of the two defenders from our Expansion Draft gives us stability in our backline for not just this season, but for the next few years,” CLTFC sporting director Zoran Krneta said in a press release.

“We knew we could find incredible value in the Expansion Draft, especially in players with significant MLS experience. Anton and Joseph have proven that they are high-level players in this league across a combined seven seasons and 170 MLS appearances, and they will be important contributors on this roster.”

In a press conference following the signing of their new deals, both players expressed optimism ahead of Charlotte FC's expansion year, with Mora even backing them to make the MLS Cup Playoffs at the first time of asking.

“I think that we can focus on making playoffs and maybe even going further. We have a lot of quality players on this team," he said. "There is a strong desire in this group to win and that is so important."

On Miguel Angel Ramirez's roster, Walkes added: “It’s a good mix, there’s a lot of different types of experience within the team which is good. Everybody has had some taste of football around the world... we’ve all had our own challenges and it is good to see because I can pick up stuff off of them and I can help some of the guys who haven’t played in the league.”

Charlotte kick off their debut MLS campaign away to DC United on February 26 before hosting the LA Galaxy in their first ever competitive home match on March 5.