Trimdon Grange, County Durham born inside or outside right James Soulsby was an amateur footballer who began his football career with Gateshead Institute in 1912 and played for Gateshead Rodsley in 1913 from where he signed for First Division club Newcastle United in May 1914, making his Football League debut and only appearance for The Toon against Middlesbrough in March 1915. His career was then interrupted as the onset of the First World War forced the suspension of peacetime football, and during the War he served in The Northumberland Fusiliers and The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
After the War he joined Second Division club South Shields, still an amateur, in December 1919 and played one match for Shields, in a defeat at Hull City in January 1920. He then played for both Darlington and Wallsend in 1920, and for Blyth Spartans in 1921 before a return to Football League action with Third Division (North) club Ashington in July 1922, scoring on his debut in a defeat at Wigan Borough that August. He was a regular in their 1922-23 campaign, scoring 7 goals in 33 appearances for The Colliers, but he returned to Blyth Spartans in 1923 and also played for Whitburn the same year.
Soulsby subsequently also played for Spennymoor United in 1923 and for Carlisle United in 1924, staying two seasons with The Cumbrians before joining Ravensworth Albion in 1926. He finally played for Chester-le-Street Secondary Old Boys in 1928 before his retirement.