Role of the Captain in Football Youth Soccer
9th February 2011

Skill or TechniqueThe captain of a football team, also known as the “skipper”, is a player chosen to lead their team on the field of play. A player is identified as being the team captain by the wearing of the arm band.

The main role of the captain, in the laws of the game, is to participate in the coin toss to decide which end of the field the teams attack and who takes the first penalty in a shoot-out, apart from that the laws of football afford no other job, special privileges or authority to the captain. This includes having any special rights to approach the referee, as popular belief might suggest.

The referee may decide to address the captain to communicate a message toward the whole team, though there is no law in football which says that the referee should do this particularly to the captain.

This suggests that the captain’s only role in the team is to perform the coin toss, though if this is the case why is such a fuss made of being the captain?

Without a doubt it is a privilege to be the captain of the team, as it makes a player stand out from their team-mates, and highlights their position in the team. Although there are few special duties for a captain to perform, they must act as a role model for their team-mates and be a leader on the field. This means they have a responsibility to encourage and motivate their team, providing the players with a boost in morale when the going gets tough and also being a calming influence when spirits are high.

Soccer Coin TossThe captain should lead by example, though that doesn’t mean they have to be the most skilful player; it does mean they have to treat others around them with respect.

The captain should have a good relationship with the coach and others in the team. The coach must also ensure the captain understand the responsibility he or she has, and in particular must select a player who has a strong personality in the team and a player who is not afraid to instruct other members of the team.

The captain may also be asked to make the decision on who will take the set pieces, and although this will have been agreed before the game, the captain may have to make a decision on the spot and should be allowed to do so.

It is essential that the captain is a good talker on the pitch and can convey their message clearly to the other players. Other players should respect what the captain is advising them to do and not continually contradict their requests.

Respect Arm BandIn mini-soccer, when the players are below the age of 10, it may be advisable to allow all the players to take turns being the captain, sharing the responsibility throughout the whole team. At that age we often see the best player or the coach’s own child given the arm band, though this can cause conflict not only with the rest of the players but also with the parents. At such a young age the child is still developing and therefore all the players should be allowed the responsibility to lead the team, not only does it make them feel good, but it is an excellent learning experience for them.

The captain should be inspirational for the other team members, and the coach should encourage the captain to address the team before the match, to inspire the rest of the team to do well. Doing this may be difficult at first, especially addressing their peers, though with practice the player will develop a huge amount of confidence doing it.

Below is a list of the top 7 England Captains.

Player Dates Caps Club
John Terry 2003–2012 68 Chelsea
David Beckham 1996–2009 115 Manchester United
Alan Shearer 1992–2000 63 Newcastle
Bryan Robson 1980–1991 90 Manchester United
Kevin Keegan 1972–1982 63 Liverpool
Bobby Moore 1962–1973 108 West Ham
Billy Wright
1946–1959 105 Wolves

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