Last month, Ligue 1 club Dijon FCO announced the hiring of Peguy Luyindula as sporting director “following the departure of Sébastien Larcier” to SCO Angers. The former Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon, Marseille, and New York Red Bulls attacker “will be in charge of defining and implementing the sports policy for all of [the club’s] entities.” This role oversees both the men’s and women’s teams.
“I am obviously grateful and honored for the new mission entrusted to me,” Luyindula told the club’s official website (through the magic of Google Translate). “As since my arrival, I will put all my investment to help the club to perpetuate its presence among the elite and continue the work of structuring the sport policy of DFCO, male and female. We are impatiently awaiting the inaugurating of the new training center. The challenges before me are important. Accompanied by the management team, I will now face them without fear.”
As one would expect, Dijon FCO is located in the French city of Dijon, which can be found in the eastward Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. The club finished the covid 19-shortened season in 16th place, somewhat comfortably out of the relegation zone but with a lot of room to improve. The sporting director position is a challenge for any professional, doubly so in the wake of the global pandemic which has wrought yet-to-be-fully-revealed changes on the sporting world. Luyindula’s first task is “setting up a recruitment unit with a view to making a successful foray into this summer’s transfer window,” one which will undoubtedly be unprecedented in unforeseen plot.
Dijon first hired the 41-year-old as a strategic advisor in July of 2019. At the time, club president Olivier Delcourt remarked that Luyindula would “help [the club] go to the next level” and “bring his savviness and his experience in the sporting atmosphere.” The former French national team player has a “network and his activities in the United States” that would enable the club to “open up to new perspectives to develop the image of DFCO on a national but also international scale.” These connections already benefited Dijon, as he was credited with influencing the successful loan of Stephy Mavididi from Arsenal.
Luyindula is perhaps best remembered by Red Bulls fans for his three assists in the 5-2 victory over the Chicago Fire that clinched the 2013 Supporters’ Shield, the team’s first silverware. Since retiring in 2015, he’s maintained his roots in the area, living in New York (first Manhattan, then Brooklyn) and serving as an investor in Sofive Soccer Centers, which has opened indoor turf facilities in Brooklyn and Carlstadt, New Jersey.
Luyindula has also found time to serve as a director with his hometown amateur club, AS Gien (which plays in the 11th-tier Centre-Val de Loire League Départemental Trois) and even registered a player in case of emergencies. He has taken an active role, expressing a desire to “transmit values to [the children of immigrant origin], beyond the question of football, tolerance and open-mindedness” and considers the job a “long-term project over the next fifteen years.” He’s impressed and surprised club staff with his involvement by constantly giving advice and taking the time to work with youth players.
Oh, and in case you were feeling especially lazy, Luyindula owns and operates a French television channel focused on alternative music and emerging talents. OFive started in 2010 and is broadcast in 150 countries and on Air France long-distance flights. The programming consists of music videos, documentaries, and interviews. So on top of everything else on his plate, he is also trying to bring back MTV from before it became infected by all of the things I grew up watching.
It’s quite the post-playing career résumé for someone who has been retired since 2015. Most athletes try to focus on one interest, be it in business or the sporting world. With such diversification and success in a brief period of time, one wonders where Luyindula will be in ten, even twenty years. For now, he has an immense challenge ahead in Eastern France, but “Peggy” remains a polymathic figure whom Red Bulls fans should continue to follow and support.