How I became a captain of a NCAA National Championship team

During my four years at the University of Virginia, I learned a lot about myself. Learning how to balance sports and school was the biggest challenge I came across, and I’m thankful for the experience. One of my most significant accomplishments that didn’t include winning was being named the team captain for the last two years I was at the University. Today I’ll go through the steps I took to become captain.

Becoming the captain of your team is one of the highest honors one can bestow. When dawned the armband, your roll on the field changes. You must lead by example. It’s not only about knowing your teammates on an individual level but also being able to bring them together as an entire group. When you’re out on the field, your not just playing the game, but your reading the game, breaking down plays before they even happen, and helping your teammates whenever it is needed. To get to this position, one must put in the time and dedication to achieve individual and team success.

 

Here are the three things you can do if you want to become the captain of your team:

1. Lead By Example

All good leaders understand that their actions will speak louder than their words. Captains don't necessarily have to be the best player, but they must be a player that always gives 100 percent in games and practices and that pushes themselves. I understood this couldn't just happen my 3rd or 4th year, but the work had to happen in my first year! I realized I had to put in extra work and be a player my teammates could rely on in whatever situations on and off the field. If you have been lazy and not putting in the work, it will be difficult to be a captain if you don't change your mindset and be honest with where you're as a player and a leader.

2. Got to know my teammates/Was open to all feedback and listened.

Soccer is a team game, and in any team game, relationships and cohesion are essential in the team's success. I understood this because all the teams I had played on before had great friendships! For the next four years, my teammates and I are going to spend a lot of time around each other, so I knew I wanted to learn about all my teammates to get to know them on a more personal level. I know because of these relationships we built, this was a catalyst for us winning the ACC tournament and an NCAA National Championship. Get to know your teammates and build rapport, you'll be surprised by what you learn and how it helps your team. Even though I was the captain, I wasn't immune to critic and feedback. I still had to grow as a player and make sure I was always pushing myself to be a better player. Your teammates will appreciate this and will make them continue to push, which makes the team better.

3. Put the team before myself

I always understood that team success would get me to the places I wanted to be (Pro Soccer Player). I put the team first, and I'm glad I did because we won championships and that is forever. Our team will be remembered in UVA and NCAA Soccer history as one of the best teams! This means everything to me, and I'm happy for our team and what we accomplished because it was the reward for the hard work and dedication we put in for years! 

Being a captain isn't easy, but gratifying work. It's going to take time and work if you want to be a good leader, and all teams need leaders. The best teams have players that rise to the occasion, and are ready for anything that comes their way, is that player you?