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Verity set to skipper GB team at Euros; Merseyside teenage water polo star is skipper for Euro Games Verity McCoy / /has been named vice captain of the Great Britain team heading for the U17 European Games in Azerbaijan - she is pictured with her Great Britain team-mates (inset below).

Byline: TIM JOHNSON Sports Reporter International Tournament

ONE of Merseyside's top young water polo stars, 16-year-old Verity McCoy, has been named vice captain of the Great Britain team heading for the U17 European Games, in Azerbaijan.

The party of 13, which will fly to Baku this week, contains three other youngsters from the City of Liverpool Club. The trio are Manchester-based Grace Rowland (17) and Hayley Price (16), and from Wallasey 16-year-old Lucy Shaw, who scored seven goals in qualifying.

"I was absolutely amazed to be named vice captain," said West Derby based international, who attends St Edward's College.

"There are a lot of girls in the squad with far more experience than I have. They said they picked me because I always play for the team, and if one of the players is struggling I will try to help build up their confidence by talking to them. We are targeting a top six finish, which will mean the girls that follow us won't have to pre-qualify for this tournament next time, which would be a great help. Before we travel to the games we will have finished all our GCSE exams except for one, which we will have to take during the tournament."

The final stages of preparation for the team involved training camps in Manchester, Cardiff and at the Crystal Palace. They were also all, in particular, excited about 'kit out day', which took place at the Birmingham NEC, and provided items to wear poolside and in and around the athletes village at the competition.

The build-up to the games has been long and intensive, and began last summer, when as an U17 team they played in the U19 Four Nations International Tournament at Warendorf, Germany.

In their first match the GB girls lost to the hosts 14-7, then beat Serbia 13-6 and before drawing 8-8 with the Dutch national league team SGHA, to finish in second place. Impressively McCoy scored five goals from the centre half position.

The teenager then continued with her rigorous weekly training regime, with also monthly trips to Cardiff, participation in the National and BWPL leagues, and other tournaments across the country.

A week was spent in Chemnitz, Germany, before the European qualifiers in Nice. In this competition they finished second to France, losing out on points difference, following victories over Switzerland (30-0) and Portugal (26-3), before drawing with the Czech Republic (8-8) and losing to France 13-12. This secured runners-up spot and a place at the European Olympics. this June.

With all the travelling involved, it is worth worth noting that all internationals and camps have been attended despite two years ago all funding being removed from from water polo.

These days all trips must self-funded and the girls have raised around PS500 each. McCoy, for instance, receives no support whatsoever and is continually on the lookout for a sponsor.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:9AZER
Date:Jun 10, 2015
Words:478
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