Networking Lions: What Clubs Have Helped to Build the Orlando City Roster: End of Season Update

 In Mapping

As the Major League Soccer season comes crashing to an ignoble end for Orlando City, now seems as good a time as any to update the map of clubs that have trained Orlando City’s players, with the end of the 2017 season update. Since creating this map in February, the club added eight new players: Dom Dwyer, Yoshimar Yotún, Léo Pereira, Scott Sutter, Jonathan Spector, Giles Barnes, Luis “We Hardly Knew You” Gil, and Dillon Powers. Most of these changes came with the mid-season summer transfer window, with the rest being midseason loans or late additions at the start of the season.

The issue with embedding Google Fusion Tables Maps still persists, I found a workaround, but it is expensive and not worth it right now. So I’ll post some screenshots with commentary, and invite you at the bottom of this post to make your way to the interactive map and explore if you are so inclined. If you are new to this project, each red pin represents a club that has trained an Orlando City player in the past, at the youth level, college, or a team the player as played for professionally. The gist of this project is to visualize the regions/ countries/ teams that are most closely associated with Orlando City.

Map United States

The US map stays relatively unchanged with a few youth clubs being added, and a few players added to clubs already on the map.

Map S America

Yoshi and Pereira helped to add Peruvian and Brazilian clubs to the map. Yoshi played 23 games for Brazil’s Vasco de Gama while on loan. That’s as good enough of an excuse as any to highlight one of my favorite team badges right?


Finally, we have a look at Europe.

map Europe

Dom Dwyer, despite playing most of his career in the United States, did help us add a few youth programs to the map, while Jonathan Spector’s successful career in England helped us to add European giants Manchester United to the map, among the four English clubs he played for. Englishman Scott Sutter’s career in Switzerland helped us to fill in that country with more pins, adding to those we added for Adrian Winter.

Here’s a close up of England:

Map UK

You can explore the entire mapping project here. By clicking on one of the red icons will be able to see which club it represents and which Orlando City player played there.

Here are a few conclusions for the 2017 End of Season update:

  • I’m still surprised Orlando City lacks any players with an African club lineage. Orlando did acquire Senegalese forward Moussa Sane, but he never featured for the first team, played three games for OCB, and quickly found himself out of the picture. Hadji Barry is from Guinea, but I’ve never seen any data about the youth systems he played in, and is of course more notably a UCF product.
  • I added University of South Florida and Notre Dame this round. What was once the main route to professional soccer for Americans has all but been replaced by academy systems.
  • The Brazilian player pipeline that was projected/feared by many in Orlando just hasn’t ever materialized. Between a Brazilian owner and Designated Player, many expected Orlando City to acquire a jogo bonito vibe. The addition of two Brazilian defenders has felt more pragmatic than inspired.
  • England still dominates. For a country with four levels of professional leagues, players with English club pedigrees still seem to find their way onto Orlando’s roster, despite no longer having an English coach or involved president. Granted, Dom Dwyer is connected to the club’s English roots from his time here during the Rawlins-Heath era, and Spector is an American player who played in England.
  • With three seasons worth of players now mapped, trends and currents are starting to come into focus. I expected at the start of this project that it would take five years to really understand the major trends, and I think that estimation still persists.

Well that’s it for this update. With a poor season almost in the books, Jason Kreis holding onto his job for now, and the exit of Kaka, Orlando City’s offseason will be interesting to say the least. I’m predicting a lot of new entries for the 2018 start of season update.

Edit: I forgot to mention the other continuing issue with this map, stacking. Teams from the same city end up stacking on top of one another. I can assure you they are there, they might just be hiding. Here is the same information in card form. 

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