The team captain of a football team, sometimes known as the skipper, 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 official functions of the captain under the Laws of the Game are to participate in the coin toss prior to kick-off (for choice of ends and to determine who kicks off first) and prior to a penalty shootout. 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.
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 at to boost his team's spirits.
Also, captains may join the manager in deciding the first team for a certain game.
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. The club captain will often take a particular role in media relations on behalf of the team 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 a team captain as an "on the pitch" leader.
Selection of captaincy hierarchy is commonly considered an important choice for the manager of a football club: the captain is in fact expected to be the manager's 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 doesn't relinquish the captaincy for the remainder of the match.
Vice-captains' duties are not just to lead 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-captain role 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, along with the captain.