Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

How to choose your captain

By Stuart Thorpe

Stuart is Head coach, North Middlesex Reds U-13G Premier, Ailsa Craig, Ontario, Canada.

Stuart’s North Middlesex Reds team with captain Emily 2nd row, 3rd from left.

How do you avoid hard feelings from players due to the coach choosing their kid or the leading striker as the Captain?

I would like to suggest the following process for choosing a Captain.
Here in Canada we have to train indoors during the winter. I like to give my players homework at the end of each indoor session.

At one 2009 session the players were tasked with coming up with their top three attributes which a Captain must possess.

I took their results and put them in to a weighted pie chart which I shared at the next session (see below).

Their results were very thorough; I could only take issue with one item. I let them know that I felt that “friends with other players” was too highly ranked; sometimes you need bit of Mark Messier in the mix.

With the pie chart in mind, the players (and coaches) were then asked to name by secret ballot their top three choices for Captain.

One person received 10 first place votes, 6 second place votes and 3 third place votes.

She was not named on only one ballot, which I later found out was her own.

She wore the armband with pride and led her team to 17-2-1 record, a 2nd place league finish and a Challenge Cup victory over the 1st place team.

I think the above process allows for some teaching moments, permits the coach to guide the selection, and gains unanimous player support for the Captain.


3 Comments so far
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[…] Original post by soccercoachblog […]

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i am the mother of emily. thank you to her coach stuart for the great write up . i know that emily took the captain job very seriously.she has benefited from being coached by stuart for the last few years. he has taught her and her team mates how to support one another.i think that pie chart was a great idea as it lets the girls have there say and feel involved on a big lets them know that there is alot that goes into being a captain not just how you play but who you are, and how you treat people.

Comment by melissa

I have gone about a similar process for choosing my captains. At the beginning of a fall or spring season I’ll have all my players think of someone they think should be captain. A lot of them want to vote for themselves but I tell them it has to be someone else. I then have them all name a person and repeat the process for a second captain. Those players that hear their teammates name them as captain gain confidence and a sense of responsibility as leaders to their team.

Comment by Norm Lybbert

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