Ferryhill, County Durham born inside left Leo Loftus played junior football for Chilton Lane United in 1921 and for Cornforth United in 1922 before joining Bishop Auckland in 1923, playing for Willington in 1924. He joined Second Division club tockport County as an amateur in August 1925 but didn’t play for their first eleven, returning to Willington later in 1925 before joining Second Division South Shields in May 1926.
Loftus made his Football League debut against Clapton Orient in January 1927, playing twice in his debut season before establishing a more regular place in 1927-28, however he lost his place in April 1928 as they suffered relegation and only made 3 further appearances in 1928-29. He joined Second Division Nottingham Forest in May 1929 after 6 goals in 31 appearances for South Shields, and he stayed three seasons at The City Ground scoring 19 goals in 61 appearances.
His time at Forest was most notable for his contribution to their FA Cup run in his debut season. Having scored in a win at Rotherham United in the third round, he scored a brace to dispatch Fulham in the fourth round, and after Forest had earned a fifth round replay against First Division club Sunderland with a 2-2 draw at Roker Park, Loftus was again on the scoresheet as they produced a cup shock, winning the replay 3-1 at The City Ground. In the quarter final, Loftus scored as they drew 2-2 with League Champions Sheffield Wednesday before they exited, losing 3-1 to The Owls at Hillsborough.
Loftus then joined Third Division (South) club Bristol City in June 1932, playing three further seasons at Ashton Gate. His first season with The Robins saw him score a career best 17 goals including a hat-trick in a 4-3 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion on Christmas Eve 1932, and he was second only to the prolific Ted Bowen in City’s goalscoring list. The following season he missed only 3 matches and again scored regularly, netting 11 times. Having scored 34 goals in 104 appearances for Bristol City, he joined Gillingham in August 1935 but only played twice for The Gills that September, soon moving to Midland League club Burton Town, for whom he played two FA Cup ties against York City and Southend United in November. In July 1936 he returned to Football League action with Barrow, scoring 9 times in 29 appearances during 1936-37 before his retirement from the professional game.