Wrexham born goalkeeper Jimmy Trainer began his football career with Wrexham Victoria in 1883 and played for Wrexham Grosvenor in 1884 before joining Wrexham in 1885. He moved to Great Lever in 1886 and played for Bolton Wanderers in 1887 before joining Football League club Preston North End making his debut for them against Burnley in their inaugural League fixture in September 1888 and missing only two League games in their unbeaten “Invincibles” season of 1888-89, keeping 12 clean sheets in 20 games, which saw them win the League Championship and FA Cup double undefeated, although he didn’t play in any of the FA Cup ties, when fellow Welsh goalkeeper Robert Mills-Roberts kept goal. He was an ever present for Preston the following season as they retained the League Championship and continued as their principal goalkeeper until February 1898, when he lost his place to Peter McBride after 276 appearances for The Lilywhites.
He first played for Wales in a 2-0 defeat to Scotland at Wrexham in March 1887, and went on to win 20 caps for his country over a 12 year period.
He was the older brother of Wrexham, Leicester Fosse and Wales international Harry Trainer.