James Murphy was born and raised in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, and quickly made his name in the world of High School soccer, being named the 2013–14 Gatorade New Jersey Boys Soccer Player of the Year. This acclaim, along with impressing at the Players Development Academy, earned Murphy appearances for the United States U20 squad.
Murphy then signed his first professional contract, heading overseas to sign with Sheffield Wednesday in 2016, who found themselves in the English Football League Championship at the time. While at the Owls, Murphy was a regular in their developmental side and would make one appearance for the senior team, on the road to Cambridge in the League Cup.
Murphy then made appearances for LAFC of Major League Soccer, Las Vegas Lights FC, Arbroath FC in Scotland, and the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros.
From there, Murphy would join Monterey Bay FC for their inaugural season in the USL Championship in 2022. This season would see Murphy lead Monterey Bay FC’s squad in tackles (56), tackles won (32), and passes (1,376). He also ranked highly in interceptions (4th) and starts (4th).
2023 would be more of the same for Murphy who, once again, found himself near the top of the Monterey Bay FC rankings in key stats for his position. His contract option was declined by Monterey Bay FC at the end of the 2023 season.