Storylines is so excited for Dylan Wolpers’ birthday! If you know, you know; if you don’t you’re about to. The Legend of the Dylan Wolpers Derby dates back to 2018, and it’s a tale that Dynamo and Loons fans alike have turned into one of the league’s most interesting traditions.
If you’ve ever been to a sporting event, you’ve probably seen fan messages displayed on the video board from time to time. Whether it’s welcoming a special group in attendance, congratulating newlyweds or celebrating a birthday, people love to see a little recognition on the jumbotron, no matter how brief.
But what happens when the moment isn’t so brief? Legends are born.
On June 18, 2018, Houston Dynamo fan Dylan Wolpers celebrated his 26th birthday. To mark the occasion, he and his girlfriend, Veronica Stark, went to the best show in H-town: the U.S. Open Cup match between his beloved Dynamo and Minnesota United.
In an effort to make her boyfriend’s birthday a bit more special, Stark arranged for the Dynamo to display a simple message in the stadium that read, “Happy Birthday Dylan Wolpers!!!”
While a few moments would have sufficed, Stark got so much more bang for her buck. Not only did her message remain on the stadium screen longer than anticipated, it also made its way into the game stream, interrupting the action and leaving Loons fans confused and soccerless for several moments.
In typical social media fashion, this abrupt shared experience turned into a running joke. Birthday wishes from MNUFC fans began to appear online, making a big enough impression for the clubs to dub their next league match the “Dylan Wolpers Derby.”
The story didn’t stop there, though. As luck would have it, the Loons matched up against Houston in the 2019 USOC as well. The date of the match? June 18. That’s right, happy birthday once again, Mr. Wolpers.
Both clubs and fan bases continued to embrace the spirit of this fun derby, working the birthday boy into pre-match promotions and even creating graphics to play along with the joke.
In every subsequent match, the legend has only grown. Six years on, the derby remains a notable match on the schedule for both sides, bringing positive vibes and two otherwise totally separate fan groups together in one of Major League Soccer’s most unique storylines.
Not every derby needs proximity or hatred to fuel it; sometimes, a well-placed birthday wish, a technical glitch and some fun memes are all that’s needed to start a wonderful tradition.
Minnesota United FC vs. Houston Dynamo FC
Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota
05.17.2023 | MLS Game #12
7:30 p.m. CT (MLS Season Pass, 1500 ESPN)