James developed into a top class midfield player while with the Toronto Blizzard and became a regular with the national team. He scored a critical goal for Canada against Costa Rica in Toronto in 1985 that helped Canada qualify for the 1986 FIFA World Cup finals. A member of the 1986 World Cup team, he played in all three games in the finals. Later James played and coached in the Canadian Soccer League,NCAA, and CIS. In the late 1990s James became coach of the Canadian national youth team, leading the team to the FIFA finals of the World Youth Championship in Argentina 2001.
James earned 47 “A” caps while representing Canada at the international level, James made full appearances at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and the 1986 World Cup in Mexico as career highlights. In addition to competing for the Canadian National Team, James also played in the North American and Canadian Soccer Leagues, where he earned first team all-star honours on four consecutive occasions.
James played for the Toronto Blizzard 1983-84 in the NASL, and then in the Canadian Soccer League for the Hamilton Steelers 1987-88, Ottawa Intrepid 1989, Hamilton Steelers again 1990, the second Toronto Blizzard in 1991, and London Lazers 1992.
James is now Director of Soccer at York University in Toronto and also provides soccer analysis for GolTV in Canada. He was from 2004 to 2008 analyst for The Footy Show on The Score television network, along with James Sharman and the late Brian Budd. Prior to coaching at York, James also coached at LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York, leading them to within one game of an NCAA berth and an NCAA Division II national ranking as high as 12th.
James is an “A” licensed coach (Canadian and American "A" licensed) who brings a strong and varied background to York, having successfully coached at the collegiate, professional and national team levels. As head coach for the men’s national under-20 team, James became the first Canadian to represent Canada at a FIFA World Championships both as a player and coach. Through his coaching career, Paul has garnerd six coach of the year awards at varying levels including; CSL, NCAA, and OUA. In 2007 James received the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) national coach of the year award. James has a reputation for developing successful soccer programs. Away from York, Paul is a soccer analyst for The Score and Goal TV and has appeared on the CBC and Sportsnet on numerous occasions.
In 2003 James was inducted into the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame.