TORONTO – There was nothing ever promised to George Davis IV.
After completing his senior season at the University of Kentucky in 2009, it took another year of playing in the Premier Development League before he got the chance to move up to the professional ranks with the Dayton Dutch Lions as the club made the same move in the first season of the USL’s modern era.
Since that moment, however, the 31-year-old Ohio native has been one of the league’s fixtures year-in and year-out, and on Friday night he became the first player to make 200 regular-season appearances in the league’s modern era as Louisville City FC claimed a 3-1 victory against Toronto FC II at Lamport Stadium.
Coming two months after he notched his 50th regular-season goal in the league, at the time the fourth player to reach that milestone, it’s certainly been a memorable season already for the veteran attacking midfielder, one that Davis himself couldn’t have envisioned when he made his professional debut in 2011.
“Honestly, not really man,” said Davis. “Obviously, you put your head down, and I’ve always been a guy that kind of just puts my head down and drives on and not take moments for granted but take them as they are. When you have a chance to hit these accomplishments and sit back and take a look from the outside to see what you’ve accomplished and what you’ve done, it’s a proud moment.
“But, at the same time, there’s a lot to play for this year and I don’t want to rest on my laurels. I want to continue to try to achieve more and win more trophies and that’s the most important thing for me.”
That Davis accomplished the feat in Louisville’s colors also meant something for the former UK standout. Having lifted the USL Cup a season ago for the first time to add to the individual accolades he has achieved during his career, the veteran has been proud to have been part of the club’s rise.
“It means a lot,” said Davis. “Louisville City has been a growing club since I’ve been here and has been a top club, we’ve done nothing but win games and strive to be the best in the league and it’s an honor to wear this shirt. I look forward to what’s ahead and I’m happy I can be a part of this organization.”
Coming on as a substitute for the seventh time this season, Davis didn’t add to his eight goals in 2018 but still helped Louisville see out a victory that ensured the side will remain in second place in the Eastern Conference going into its final two home games of the regular season.
The insurance marker came instead from fellow second-half substitute Cameron Lancaster with nine minutes to go as his left-footed finish added to first-half tallies by Ilija Ilic and Alex Souahy that had put the visitors in firm control of the contest. The goal was Lancaster’s 22nd of the season, tying former Louisville City FC striker Matt Fondy for the USL’s modern-era single-season record and giving the English forward a chance to make history when the side hosts North Carolina FC and Indy Eleven over the final week of the regular season.
“You put Cam on the field and in those moments he’s lethal,” said Louisville Head Coach John Hackworth. “It was a great little combination play that sprung him and he had a lot to do with the finish, but he executed it perfectly.”
With the side now on a four-game winning streak, and Davis having reached another milestone in his career, both he and his teammates are looking forward to what’s to come. Two victories would assure Louisville of a top-two finish in the Eastern Conference for a fourth consecutive season and set up the side to make a run at becoming the first back-to-back USL Cup winners in the league’s modern era.
After the historic moments he’s accomplished individually this season there’s nothing that Davis would like more than to cap the year off with another championship celebration.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back home and playing at Slugger [Field] and finishing the season strong,” said Davis. “I think we have a good group and we have the same mentality and the same hunger last year when we won the cup, so that’s our goal and our mission: to do that again.”