Kirkham, Lancashire born Joe McCall was a stalwart centre half who signed for First Division Preston North End as an amateur in 1905 from hometown club Kirkham, turning professional in July 1906 and making his Football League debut in a 3-0 home defeat against Arsenal in September 1906. By 1908-09 he had become a first team regular, and continued to play for Preston both sides of the First World War. Although relegated in 1912, they bounced back as Second Division Champions in 1912-13 with McCall making 33 appearances.
He was first selected for England in March 1913 scoring in a 4-3 victory over Wales at Ashton Gate. He won his second cap the following month as England beat Scotland 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, and next played in the return fixture a year later when Scotland triumphed 3-1 at Hampden Park, but he then had to wait six years for his next cap, in an astonishing 5-4 victory over Scotland at Hillsborough. He won his fifth and final England cap in October 1920, captaining his country in a 2-0 win over Ireland at Roker Park. He also played twice for The Football League, firstly in a 2-2 draw with The Irish League at Liverpool in November 1919, and then in a 4-0 win over The Scottish League at Glasgow in March 1920. He also played in two unofficial Victory Internationals after the end of the First World War, appearing in a 2-2 draw with Scotland at Goodison Park in April 1919 and in a 4-3 return victory at Hampden Park the following month.
McCall played in the 1921 FA Cup semi final as Preston lost to eventual winners Tottenham Hotspur at Hillsborough. He was Preston’s club captain the following year for the 1922 FA Cup Final which Preston lost to Huddersfield Town at Stamford Bridge. He played his last game for Preston in an FA Cup tie at West Bromwich Albion in January 1925 already aged 38 and retired in May that year having played 395 games for Preston, having scored 15 goals.