Sunderland, County Durham born right back James Wood started his football career with Hylton Colliery in 1911 and spent 1912-13 on the books at hometown League Champions Sunderland without making a first team appearance. In 1913 he joined North Eastern League club South Shields and the following year transferred to Second Division club Huddersfield Town, for whom he made his Football League debut at Leeds City in March 1915, however his career was interrupted by The First World War.
When League football resumed in 1919 he was Huddersfield’s first choice right back for three seasons, in that time he played as they won promotion to the top flight as Second Division runners up in 1920, and in both Huddersfield’s losing 1920 FA Cup Final team of 1920, The Terriers going down 1-0 to an extra time goal against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge, and two years later under Herbert Chapman as they went one better by winning the FA Cup against Preston North End with a penalty from Billy Smith in the 1922 Final, also at Stamford Bridge. Wood also played against League Champions Liverpool in the FA Charity Shield, in a match won 1-0 at Old Trafford two weeks later.
However he was sold to Second Division club Blackpool in October 1922 after 144 appearances for Huddersfield, and played four seasons at Bloomfield Road, albeit appearing less and less often. In 1926, after 56 appearances, he left and joined the exodus of players going to the nascent North American Soccer League, playing for Fall River Marksmen that year, Springfield Babes in 1927 and Providence Clamdiggers in 1928, his final recorded club before his retirement.