Crew Player Combinations: Defenders
This is an experiment to try and represent player combination data more graphically than a 2-dimensional chart. This is a force-directed graph, generated via the d3.js visualization platform.
The way it works is conceptually simple. Each node represents a player. The color of that node indicates the player's position. For the purpose of this test, I've focused solely on defensive-oriented players. Dark blue dots are goalkeepers, light blue dots are defenders, and orange dots are defensive midfielders. For players (like Rich Balchan) who have appeared in multiple positions, I've made a judgement call about what the player's natural position is.
The lines joining each node indicate the amount of time those two players have appeared together. Players (like Sebastian Miranda and William Hesmer) who play together frequently will be joined by a thick line, while players who see almost no time together (Andy Iro and Julius James) will be joined by a thin line. Players who never appear together (William Hesmer and Andy Gruenebaum) will not be joined at all.
Node size is uniform, although I can imagine that varying eventually.
One final note. In examining the placement of each player in the graph, it appears that the various forces at work tend to force nodes to the center which share many strong bonds - which, in this case, tends to be those players who have the most playing time. Less used players tend to gravitate toward the edge of the chart. That may not always happen, but at least in this chart it does.
Mouse over the image for additional notes and to identify each player.
UPDATE: I put together a dataset for all of the 2011 season (so far) - you can see that here: www.flickr.com/photos/bernhardtsoccer/5982804945/in/photo...