The midfielder joined the Exeter City Academy at under-9 level, and progressed through the ranks to sign a two-year scholarship deal with the Grecians in the summer of 2017 as he moved up into the under-18s.
He penned a professional contract in 2018 at the age of 17 while still a first-year scholar, being fast-tracked towards the Exeter first-team squad.
He made his Exeter debut in September 2018 as a substitute against West Ham U21s during a Papa Johns Trophy game, while being an unused substitute against Bristol Rovers later on that season in the same competition.
In December 2018, he made a one-month loan move to Southern League Premier Division side Taunton Town, featuring twice and being an unused substitute once.
An injury-hit couple of years halted his progression, however he earnt a new one-year deal at St James’ Park after an impressive 2021 pre-season campaign. He captained the Grecians during the first half vs Weston in July and went on to net against Bath City in a friendly.
The 20-year-old has been a part of the Exeter first-team squad this season, being an unused substitute four times in League Two and playing twice for Matt Taylor’s side in the cup competitions, including being their captain vs Chelsea U21s in the Papa Johns Trophy.
He has also led the Grecians’ U23 side out during their three Premier League Cup games so far this season, indicating the leadership qualities that he possesses.
In September 2021, Dodd joined the Seagulls on a loan move from Exeter until January. On 1st January 2022, James’ loan with the Seagulls was extended until the end of the season. Throughout the loan spell, he made 40 appearances and scored one goal in that time, while assisting eight goals.
After being released by Exeter in the summer of 2022, James signed for the Seagulls on a permanent basis in June 2022.