While Sunday’s home finale against the Colorado Rapids is not the Houston Dynamo’s last game of the season, it will be the finale for one of the Club's longest tenured and most unheralded employees. Team photographer Wilf Thorne is retiring after this weekend’s match, ending a run with the team that began in the Dynamo’s fourth game in franchise history.  

Thorne, who has been a photography enthusiast since high school, first got started in sports photography when he was hired as the assistant team photographer for the USFL’s Houston Gamblers in the early 80s.  

When Thorne first joined the Houston Dynamo in 2006, he was brought in to primarily shoot events for corporate partnerships like Soccerfest. After three seasons doing this, the team’s original photographer left and Wilf enthusiastically took over his official gameday duties.  

Having been with the club since the very beginning, Thorne has truly seen it all during his tenure. While not the official team photgrapher during the club’s two MLS Cup runs in 2006 and 2007, he was the lead photographer during the team’s 2018 U.S. Open Championship, a time that he describes as a highlight of his tenure. 

“The one I remember the most is the [Open Cup] Championship. That was a lot of fun,” Thorne said. “Winning that game, winning a championship game. I shot all of the game action, all of the celebration afterwards. I even got to go into the locker room afterwards. There was literally champagne everywhere. Those guys were having a ball and I got a lot of good shots of the players celebrating. That will always stick in my mind. That was a lot of fun to do.” 

Perhaps as meaningful as any individual game that Thorne got the opportunity to photograph, was the opportunity to shoot during the construction of PNC Stadium. Ever the innovator, Thorne worked out a deal with the owner of a nearby building to allow him to go to the roof of this building every week to take photos of the stadium’s progress.  

“When it was built, they did a timelapse using my photos,” Thorne said. “I did it all the way from the start. I mean, the first pictures are just of an empty lot down there. That was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed that. 

After a long career both in photography and in business, Wilf is moving on to a well-deserved retirement. However, he has no plans to put down his camera anytime soon. 

“I like sports but my passion is really photography. I have shot a lot of sports. I will stay with my hands in that. My wife and I want to travel and I will definitely do some travel photography. I want to document the United States. And I want to document family.” 

Thorne’s retirement is bittersweet, both for himself and the entire Houston Dynamo family. The organization hopes nothing but the best for him in retirement. As for Wilf, even though he will miss the excitement that comes with shooting a MLS club, he knows that all he needs to be happy in this next phase of life is to keep on doing what he loves. 

“It’s time for me to move on. I’ve been there, I’ve enjoyed it, it’s been a great experience. But I’m going to pick up my camera and shoot something else, and I’ll be happy.”