SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — An animal shelter in KELOLAND has a new leader.

Monday was James Oppenheimer’s first day on the job at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society.

Being surrounded by animals is a big change from his previous work.

“Going from soccer balls to fur balls is what I keep telling people,” SFAHS executive director James Oppenheimer said.

Before coming to the Humane Society, Oppenheimer served as the director of business operations at Dakota Alliance Soccer Club.

He was also a staff coach.

“In soccer, there’s a challenge to win and there’s a challenge to make every player, which we had 3,000 soccer players, make every player feel heard and feel like they had a good experience. I feel like the challenge here is make every animal we take in is heard and has a good experience,” Oppenheimer said.

Oppenheimer will also be working with a bigger staff in his new role.

“When you work in nonprofits, especially a passion nonprofit like the humane society, you feel like you’re doing something because you’re passionate about it. You could earn more money elsewhere, but you’re here because of the passion for what you do, so let’s make it a great place to come to work,” Oppenheimer said.

Oppenheimer is excited about the new opportunity and wants to help the organization grow even more.

Oppenheimer takes over for interim executive director Anne Rieck McFarland and former executive director Kori Baade, who stepped down in November after nearly 15 years.