Goalkeeper Lily Alfeld has been appointed captain of the Wellington Phoenix for their maiden A-League women's season.
The appointment was made following a vote by her teammates.
Alfeld is one of the few players in the Phoenix squad with A-League experience.
18-year old Kate Taylor has been named vice-captain
Adopting a model used by other high performance teams such as the Silver Ferns, the players were asked to answer a number of questions about the team's leadership in an anonymous survey.
"We tailor-made it to the Wellington Phoenix and the team we wanted to select," head coach Gemma Lewis said. "What kind of person builds confidence for you? Who do you trust? Who do you respect? Who leads on the field? Who demonstrates work ethic and the principles that we want to represent as a team? And ultimately one of the last questions was who would you vote for as your captain?"
Alfeld was Lewis' first signing and quickly emerged as the obvious candidate to lead the team. "We took a bit of time before announcing because we wanted to make sure it was the right person, but from the moment we started the team…she's really stood up as a leader within the group," Lewis said.
"The players really look up to her, they come to her for advice both on and off the field so it ended up being quite an easy choice for us and the players."
The former New Zealand age-group representative is the oldest player in the inaugural squad at 26 and joins the club from Perth Glory, where she started all 12 of their matches last season and led the league with 53 saves.
She says she didn't see her appointment as captain coming. "It's a huge honour," Alfeld said.
Being named as captain for any team is a huge honour but to have the opportunity to lead the girls out on that pitch for the first time in our inaugural season…it's a very special moment for me.
"This will be another first, captaining at a professional level. It'll be a huge step up but it's a challenge I'm really looking forward to."
Meanwhile vice-captain Taylor is one of eight 18-year-olds in the squad and joined the club from the successful Canterbury United Pride side that won its third successive national championship last year.
Gemma Lewis acknowledges appointing such a young vice-captain will surprise some. "I think people would definitely raise their eyebrows at it, but anybody that knows Kate probably isn't that surprised," Lewis said.
"And if you look at the demographic of our team she is probably not a super young person within our team. She's looked up to a lot and…she comes up highly across a lot of those things we asked within the survey.
The Wellington Phoenix play their historic first match against the Western Sydney Wanderers in Wollongong on Friday night.