Christopher "Chris" Paul James (born 4 July 1987) is a professional football player who currently plays for Colorado Springs Switchbacks in the United Soccer League. James represent New Zealand at international level. James is predominantly a central midfielder or deep lying playmaker, but is also able to play very well in offensive roles.
James' first professional contract was with Premier League side Fulham. Although he never made a senior first-team appearance, he made many appearances for the reserve side. James was offered a one-year contract extension by Fulham in 2007, however James declined the offer to pursue first team opportunities elsewhere.
In February 2008, he signed a two-year contract with Tampere United. Even though the 2008 season wasn't a very successful one for his team, James debut season was impressive, in 17 league games he scored three goals and also provided eight assists in his breakthrough season. He represented Tampere United in their four Champions League Qualifiers scoring two goals.
James was signed by Football League Two side Barnet in March 2010 on a free transfer subject to international clearance. James made his first team debut as a late substitute in a 3–1 home victory over Chesterfield on 5 April 2010. James was released at the end of the season due to change of management at Barnet.
After his departure from his third Finnish side FC Haka, James was signed by second-tier American club Colorado Springs Switchbacks F.C. on a free transfer on January 12, 2017. He was officially released from the club after making only four appearances due to injuries on July 27, 2017
James played for the England youth team representing them over 30 times at Under 16–18 levels but has now chosen to play for the country of his birth, New Zealand. Ricki Herbert included him in the All Whites squad just days after receiving international clearance to play for New Zealand for the friendly match against then-World Champions Brazil on 5 June 2006, which they lost 4–0. He has made a number of appearances for his country since his debut, playing the likes of Charlton Athletic and Sevilla in friendlies. He also scored a consolation goal against Sevilla which was calmly slotted away.
Impressive performances in these matches has won him the New Zealand Soccer International Young Men's Player of the Year award for 2006. He was a member of the New Zealand under-20 team that qualified for the under-20 World Cup in Canada, scoring seven goals in six games including a hat-trick against Samoa. It was the first time New Zealand had a team qualify for the under-20 world cup.
James was named as part of the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup New Zealand squad to travel to South Africa, but was not named in New Zealand's 2010 FIFA World Cup squad.
James returned to the national side for the 2013 OSN Cup.Scores and results list New Zealand's goal tally first.