How To Be a Good Soccer Team Captain

The role of the team captain is influential on a team’s success. It’s a leadership role often offered to players with exemplary skills on and off the field. However, performing as a team captain isn’t for everyone. It’s a demanding position that requires guidance, responsibility, excellent communication skills, and a lot of individual effort. 

This guide to being a great soccer team captain will help you understand the position and what it takes to fulfill the role. 

Soccer Captain Functions and Duties

A team captain performs far more duties than are visible on the field. They are an official leader who performs many duties throughout practice, on the pitch, in the locker room, and even on off days. 

Official Duty

There is only one official responsibility of the team captain, according to the Laws of the Game. That is to participate in the coin toss at the beginning of a match and before a penalty shootout.

Unofficial Duties

Soccer captain functions and duties vary from team to team, but the following are several responsibilities of soccer team captains:

  • They have many unofficial duties, but according to te
  • The team captain represents the team on and off the field. This may include speaking to the media, mediating with referees, and communicating with the other team.
  • Captains must help dissolve arguments amongst teammates, opposing players, referees, managers, and others. 
  • They communicate decisions made by the manager or referee to the team. 
  • The team captain maintains team morale. This involves lifting the team when they’re down and keeping players motivated during times of success. 
  • They may organize events to unify the team, such as movie nights or cookouts. 
  • The team captain is a link between the coaching staff and the players. 
  • They help individual players set goals that work toward the common objective of the team. An excellent captain generates confidence in each player and the entire team.
  • A captain may even help the manager decide which players start the game. 

Understanding the roles of a team captain can help you determine if it’s a position you are willing to fulfill. Individuals with numerous other school, work, or family obligations may find they don’t have the additional time and energy required to be a soccer team captain. However, it is a fulfilling role that can lead to infinite learning experiences and opportunities on and off the field. 

How Are Soccer Captains Chosen?

The team manager usually chooses the captain, and this role is an integral part of the team’s success. They must exhibit several qualities and abilities to obtain this position. Occasionally, the team manager lets the players choose the captain. 

The captain is not necessarily the most skilled soccer player on the team. The manager chooses the captain based on a variety of factors, including experience, seniority, natural ability, and most importantly, leadership capabilities. 

Several factors affect the likelihood of an individual becoming captain, including the following:

  • How long the player has been on the team. Players who play on the team for the longest time have a higher chance of becoming captains.
  • Homegrown talents (players local to the city in which the team resides) have an upper hand in the selection process.
  • A player with a positive reputation on and off the field is most likely to be considered a captain.

Methods of Choosing a Team Captain

There are two methods teams use to choose a captain. The first method is letting the coach choose the player they sees most fit to perform the duties of team captain. The second method involves the team voting for the player they believe will best fulfill the role. 

The most common method is for the coach to choose the team captain. This method eliminates the chance of voting turning into a popularity contest, dividing the team. Middle school teams, high school teams, and newly-formed teams generally benefit from the coach choosing the captain.

A coach may also let the team choose their captain through a voting process. However, this method is only effective if the team has a mature dynamic where cliques do not exist. The voting method is best for higher-level college and professional teams and with teams that have played together for years. 

Making the Decision

Many coaches struggle with the task of choosing a captain or multiple captains. The most skilled player on the team may not be the best leader or might lack the communication skills required to be an excellent captain. Contrarily, a less skilled player may thrive in the role of team captain. A coach’s intuition is often correct in choosing the individual who will be the best leader. 

The decision of choosing a team captain is an important one, but the wrong choice doesn’t mean the season is doomed. Coaches make mistakes and may pick a player who isn’t ready for the role of captain. However, the coach can use this as a learning opportunity for herself and the player. Many times, a player needs some guidance on the role of captain and a little help from the coach or others to fill in the gaps. 

A coach may also encourage certain players to focus on advancing the skills necessary to become captains in the future. 

7 Characteristics of an Excellent Captain

The best captains, like Diego Maradona of Argentina and Francesco Totti of Roma, exhibited several characteristics that took them to the top. The following are common qualities coaches seek when searching for a great captain.

1. A True Leader

The No. 1 quality of a great captain is exemplary leadership skills. They always works hard and sets a positive example for other players to do the same. The captain positively influences team members to put in the effort it takes to reach success.

2. Confidence

A quality captain is confident in themselves and their team. They uses their confidence to encourage players to be confident too. This confidence helps the team understand their abilities and use them to reach success. 

However, a confident captain is not a cocky captain. They are humble and sees their individual successes as the product of excellent teamwork. 

3. Respect

A captain is respectful of fellow players, coaches, referees, and the opposing team. Treating players with respect earns the captain respect too. A team is more likely to respond to the captain’s wishes if they appreciate his effort and believe that everyone is working toward one common goal. 

4. Motivational

A significant role of a great captain is to motivate the team in times of success and failure. They encourages their teammates to push forward after setbacks and congratulates a job well done. An excellent captain can transform a team’s morale when they’re down and keep them pumped up when they’re ahead. 

5. An Excellent Communicator

The team captain communicates on behalf of players and the team with referees, officials, and coaches. They are responsible for the behavior of the team and keeping players under control during tense moments throughout the game. A captain must also clearly communicate messages from the manager to players. 

6. Composed

An excellent team captain never lashes out at fellow players, the manager, referees, or the other team. They must remain mentally strong on and off the field. The composure a team captain exhibits is often reflected in the behavior of the players. A composed captain means a composed team. 

7. Dedicated

A team captain holds this position because they are dedicated to the success of the team. That dedication often means putting time into the team’s success off the field, when nobody is watching or giving praise. 

The captain strives to be the best leader possible and holds themselves accountable for the performance of the team, including victories and losses. 

How Many Captains Does a Soccer Team Have?

The number of captains on a soccer team depends on the league and the coaches. The traditional number of captains per team at college and professional levels is one. However, the official Laws of the Game, as outlined by the International Football Association Board, do not put a limit on the number of captains per team.

Coaches of teams at lower levels, such as youth soccer leagues, may appoint as many or as few captains as they please. Some coaches prefer choosing several captains who focus on specific roles. This helps divide the duties associated with the captain role, so all of the pressure of the position does not fall on a single player.

Frequently-Asked Questions About Being a Team Captain

Numerous factors determine how a coach chooses a captain and the roles the captain must perform. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions about team captains.

Do I need to play the position of forward or midfield to be captain?

Players in forward and midfield positions receive a lot of praise because they generally score goals. It is just as likely for a goalie or defender to be captain as anyone else on the team. A combination of personality and soccer skill factors determine who the coach chooses as team captain.

Do I have to be loud to be a team captain?

The loudest player on the team is not always the captain. Players who cause too much drama on the field are often not chosen as captains because they don’t have the discipline and control required.

Alexis Sanchez of the Chilean National Team is an example of a team captain who was not edgy or loud but was able to inspire all of the players around him. A great captain motivates individual players and the entire team to succeed. Being emphatic is not the only way to do so. 

I possess all the qualities above but still am not a team captain. What am I doing wrong?

Not all players who are excellent leaders and skilled soccer players will become team captains. Players must understand that coaches choose team captains for multiple reasons. Players need to understand they do not have to fulfill the role of the team captain to lead the team to success. 

Pursue Your Goal of Being a Team Captain

The above guidelines and recommendations are not official, and any player can be a team captain if they sets their mind and body to it. Leadership qualities and individual soccer skills are bound to improve with consistency. The goal is to continue working toward success on and off the field every day.

Who knows! Coaches and players might be calling you “captain” next season.