Manchester City to electrify Chapel Hill’s Carolina blue skies this summer


By Laurie Paolicelli

Erling Haaland, Manchester City.

On July 23 Man City plays the Celtic Football Club, in Kenan Stadium.

Manchester City FC, commonly known as Manchester City, has a fan base that circles the world. On Sunday, May 29, Manchester City became the 2023-24 Premier League champions — the first time in 135 years of top-flight football that a club has won the English league title four seasons in a row.

Luckily for us, the club has also established various American connections over the years.

Although they haven’t released a roster yet for their July 23, 2024 game in Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, Oscar Bobb and Erling Haaland will certainly be a part of it.

Football fans are, to say the least, rather excited about this.

Oscar Bobb officially joined the club in July 2019 as an incredibly technically gifted midfielder. Capable of playing centrally as well as out-wide, Bobb has been promoted to first-team football for the 2023/24 season.  

Erling Braut Haaland plays as a striker. Considered one of the best players in the world, he is known for his speed, strength, positioning, and finishing inside the box — and he’s a wonder to watch.

Kevin De Bruyne is back with Manchester City.

“These two guys, in addition to Phil Foden as midfielder, have been pivotal in City’s recent triumphs, including snagging a few league titles and making waves in Europe,” says Rob McNabb, a Connecticut resident who is a longtime fan and who may very well be traveling to Chapel Hill this summer for the game. “My wife is an alum of UNC and this game really appeals to us.”

Over the years, Manchester City has seen various American players either join its ranks or be part of its broader network. Notable among these is Zack Steffen, an American goalkeeper who signed with Manchester City and has been loaned out to various clubs, including a stint back in MLS.

Celtic Football Club.

Manchester City’s opponent will be the legendary Celtic Football Club.

Earlier this month, all eyes were on Celtic as they secured their third successive Premiership title. Celtic Football Club, a storied institution based in Glasgow, Scotland, is known for its vibrant community support and the electrifying atmosphere at Celtic Park. The club has a passionate fan base that spans the globe. “Celtic Football Club is more than a football club,” says Sir Robert Kelly, Chairman of the Celtic Football Club for almost 30 years. “To a lot of people it’s a way of life.”

Innovation is at the forefront of Celtic’s strategy, as demonstrated by its youth development programs, which are among the best in the UK. The club is not just about nurturing local talent but also attracting promising young players from around the world, such as the American prodigy Cavan Sullivan, whose expected move to Celtic represents a significant investment in the future of the club. Even the Pope praised the club for their “valued legacy” and the importance of the fact that Celtic FC was originally established to help fight poverty.

So, Celtic stands out not just for their football, but for their heart and impact off the field as well. They’re a club that truly represents their community and traditions.

Celtic Fans. Photo by Shutterstock.

The bottom line is If you love the game, and live in or have ties to North Carolina, getting out to this Chapel Hill friendly match on July 23 is a must, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s your chance to catch a glimpse of the future of European football, right here in Kenan Stadium. These games are not just about the sport; they’re about building bridges between fans across the globe — think of it as football diplomacy. Supporting these events is key to nurturing this new wave of fan engagement. It’s about sharing our passion for football, experiencing new styles of play, and welcoming the next generation of players and fans. So grab your mates, head to Chapel Hill, and be part of this exciting movement in European football!

The Chapel Hill, North Carolina community offers this website for help in navigating the area. Or call (919) 245-4320 or email:

For tickets, visit:

The Welcome Center at 308 W. Franklin is ready for the visitors!

Laurie Paolicelli is executive director for the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, a position she has held since 2005. Laurie has worked in tourism and marketing for twenty-five years, having served in leadership roles in Houston and California convention and visitor bureaus. She is a native of the Twin Ports of Duluth, MN/Superior Wisconsin. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Communications from the University Wisconsin-Superior and graduate certification in Technology In Marketing from the UNC-Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media.
This reporter can be reached at

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