Cookstown, County Tyrone born goalkeeper Alfie Harland played junior football for Dunmurry before signing for Linfield in 1921, initially as understudy to Fred McKee, but by October 1921 Harland had taken over the gloves. In his debut season he won the Irish League and Cup double with Linfield in 1921-22, sealed with a 2-1 Irish Cup Final win over Glenavon, as well as twice representing The Irish League and winning the first of his two Ireland international caps on a post season tour to Norway in May 1922, where he also represented The Irish FA in a match against the Norwegian FA.
He was then selected in October to play for Ireland against England at West Bromwich, and although they lost 2-0, he impressed sufficiently for Everton to sign him the next month as a replacement for the injured Tom Fern, making his Football League debut in a 1-0 victory over Arsenal on 4th November 1922. and he held on to the number one jersey through to the following March when Fern returned. After nearly a year of reserve-team football, Harland returned to the Everton first team in January 1924, retaining his place well into the following campaign before losing out to Jack Kendall and then Harry Hardy. After just four appearances in the 1925-26 season, the last in a 3-2 defeat by Huddersfield Town on 3rd October, Harland again lost his place, having played 70 times for Everton, and subsequently joined Cheshire County League club Runcorn in May 1926.