The locker room’s jokes about George Davis IV’s age endured throughout Louisville City FC’s trip to play the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
“They’re just mad because I’m 29 and I look like I’m 18,” Davis quipped Friday night.
His LouCity teammates were happy he still plays like it, too.
The University of Kentucky product and veteran all-USL performer scored a pair of goals — both in the second half — while rallying LouCity back for a 2-1 win over the Riverhounds.
After stints with the Dayton Dutch Lions, Los Angeles Blues, Orlando City and Richmond Kickers, the winger has again cemented a spot in a starting lineup, this time with LouCity. Davis has tallied five goals while working the left side for the club, good for second on coach James O’Connor’s team.
“He’s a great professional,” O’Connor said of Davis, who celebrated his birthday Friday in addition to a win. “When you look at George, he’s led his life correctly. You look at his physique — he’s got a great physique and works really hard in the gym. His body fat percentage is really low.
“You can see he lives for football.”
Davis said he’s never been on a team where he was the oldest player. Along the way this season, he has led mostly by example, but O’Connor also offered the Ohio native a chance to give the pregame speech Friday.
Midfielder Niall McCabe said Davis focused the talk on how much the team means to him — and what it should to everyone else on the roster.
“It just came out of the blue, I guess, with the two games we lost,” McCabe said. “It was refreshing to hear a different perspective other than James or (assistant coach) Dan (Byrd). Personally, he got me pretty pumped. It was a speech that got everyone fired up.”
Still, LouCity played from behind after the Riverhounds’ Corey Hertzog scored in the 27th minute. Even Davis admitted, “It took me a while to get into the game.”
By the second half, his efforts in the final third proved key for LouCity. In the 55th minute, he nearly netted a try into the upper right before breaking through to score 60 seconds later.
Davis’ 82nd-minute game-winner, assisted by captain Aodhan Quinn, deflected off a Riverhounds defender before bounding into the goal as well.
“Good teams like this, they don’t stay down for long,” McCabe said. “We came out with some real fight in the second half, and all credit to George for getting his goals. He took them really well.”
O’Connor gave the postgame speech, and afterward LouCity players sang “Happy Birthday” to Davis, whose goals vaulted the club back into first place in the USL’s Eastern Conference.
The victory ended a two-game losing skid and returned LouCity to the win column for the first time since July 17.
“We haven’t lost belief in our team,” Davis said. “We’re still striving to win a championship. It’s good that we bounced back.”
Individually, he added, “I’d love to play this game for as long as possible. I know it’s not going to be forever, so I’m trying to make the most of it.”