Captain (association football)

Captain (association football)
A captain's armband, worn by captains.

The team captain of a football team, sometimes known as the skipper,[1] is a team member chosen to be the on-pitch leader of the team: it is often one of the older or more experienced members of the squad, or a player that can heavily influence a game. The team captain is usually identified by the wearing of an armband.



The only official responsibility of a captain specified by the Laws of the Game is to participate in the coin toss prior to kick-off [2] (for choice of ends) and prior to a penalty shootout. Contrary to what is sometimes claimed, captains have no special authority under the Laws to challenge a decision by the referee. However, referees will sometimes talk to the captain of a side about the side's general behaviour. Also, any trophy won by a team will be received by the captain at the award-giving ceremony.

In youth or recreational football, the captain often takes on duties, that would, at a higher level, be delegated to the manager. The captain generally provides a rallying point for the team: if morale is low, it is the captain who will be looked upon to boost their team's spirits.

Also, captains may join the manager in deciding the first team for a certain game.

Related positions

Club captain

A club captain is usually appointed for a season – if unavailable or not selected for a particular game, the appointed vice-captain or a team captain will be appointed to perform a similar role – and will be the first player to lift a trophy should the team win one. However, a club may appoint two distinct roles: a club captain to represent the players in a public relations role, and correspondent on the pitch. The relationship between a manager and a captain is a crucial one. Likewise it is also important the captain has a good rapport with the club's supporters. Crucial qualities of a club captain include determination and stamina, being able to get along with everybody, and being an intelligent, tactically minded player. Club captains can also take on certain responsibilities within the playing staff, such as organising morale-boosting events and looking after younger players.


A vice-captain is a player that is expected to captain the side when the club's captain is not included in the starting eleven, or if the club captain is substituted.

In essence the vice-captain then assumes the role of the captain, in its entirety. If the current captain is in the matchday squad, and comes on as a substitute, then the vice-captain may or may not relinquish the captaincy for the remainder of the match.

The vice-captain's duties are limited to leading the team when the captain is not playing. A vice-captain is usually expected to lead the players with the captain and also help the younger players develop.

Like the captaincy, the vice-captaincy is usually handed to a senior player, or a player that can heavily influence a game.

The vice-captain is usually named by the manager at the start of the season.

World Cup Winners captains

See also


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