Stewart, Padua graduate from respective educational programs

Stewart, Padua graduate from respective educational programs

[December 22, 2023 – Harmon, Guam] Guam Football Association Executive Director Cheri Stewart graduated from the first-ever Asian Football Confederation Certificate in Football Leadership (ACFL) program earlier this month, topping her cohort that included selected participants from the entire Asian continent.

Guam Football Association Executive Director Cheri Stewart delivers a presentation for FIFA President Gianni Infantino and other FIFA Delegates during the delegation’s recent visit to Guam at the GFA National Training Center. Stewart graduated at the top of the class in Asian Football Confederation’s first-ever Certificate in Football Leadership program earlier this month.

“I’m delighted to be a part of the first edition of the ACFL and to embrace the responsibility that comes with our expanded knowledge to effect positive change in football leadership,” Stewart said. “I continue to aim to be an exemplary leader who inspires, motivates, and empowers others.”

The ACFL opened its inaugural edition in June, after AFC selected a handful of decision-makers from AFC Member Associations to join the program. According to the AFC Web site, the program, the latest in the line-up of education initiatives under the landmark AFC Academic Centre of Excellence (ACE) aimed at molding Asian football leaders and enhancing their capabilities, consisted of six modules that combined the best of theoretical perspectives, hands-on activities, and case studies to boost each participant’s leadership skills.

Stewart had earlier earned a Certificate of Merit from AFC’s first edition of its AFC Football Management Diploma online program in Dec. 2022 ahead of her selection for the Football Leadership program.

Locally, GFA Chief Financial Officer Clarissa Padua was among close to a couple dozen professionals who successfully completed the University of Guam Master of Accountancy program. Padua officially graduated Dec. 17 from the one-year accelerated program.

Guam Football Association Chief Financial Officer Clarissa Padua poses for a photo with her parents and youngest daughter Elizabeth, following University of Guam’s Commencement ceremony Dec. 17. Padua graduated from UOG’s first-ever Master of Accountancy program.

“As a proud Triton alumna – BBA double major in Accounting & Management, Professional Master of Business Administration (PMBA) Cohort XVII, and Master of Accountancy Cohort I – I would be honored to utilize my leadership skills to continue directing and overseeing the financial activities at Guam Football Association, while collaborating with GFA management, the GFA Executive Committee, and business partners to achieve our strategic goals and ultimately make a positive impact in our community,” Padua said.

GFA fully supported Stewart and Padua’s personal decision to pursue completion of their selected respective educational programs, in line with GFA’s four-year strategic plan “Growth Planning for the Next Generation” in professional development of the organization’s staff.

“On behalf of Guam Football Association, I would like to congratulate both Cheri and Clarissa in their most recent achievements and look forward to their continued contributions to the development of football in Guam,” said Joe Cepeda, GFA General Secretary. “These programs take a great deal of commitment to successfully complete. We will continue to support our staff at GFA in pursuit of professional development through education, as well as our coaches and referees passionate about elevating the level of football in Guam in upcoming courses.”

In December 2022, GFA introduced its four-year strategic plan which includes five strategic pillars: Grow Participation, Club Development & Licensing, Education & Development, Competition Development, and National Team Development.

The full document can be found on GFA’s Official Web site:

AFC has introduced a new developmental education course through its Academic Center of Excellence (ACE) program open to all involved in football: the ACE Certificate in Football Administration and Management. The new course is a self-paced online certificate course “designed to empower managers and administrators at all levels within the AFC’s Member Associations, Regional Associations, and other stakeholders,” according to the AFC Web site. The newly formatted course features 12 modules: The Organization of World Football, International Sports Federations, Strategic Management, Financial Management, Income Generation, Media & Communications, Event Management, Operational Management, Human Resource Management, Child Safeguarding and Social Responsibility, Sports Law, and Club Licensing.

More information about the course and its application form is available online: