Followers offer banknotes to soccer team members as they are ordained as Buddhist monks and novices following their dramatic cave rescue last week in the Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Followers offer banknotes to soccer team members as they are ordained as Buddhist monks and novices following their dramatic cave rescue last week in the Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Members of the soccer team who were rescued from a flooded cave, attend a Buddhist ceremony as they prepare to be ordained as Buddhist monks and novices. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Members of the soccer team who were rescued from a flooded cave, attend a Buddhist ceremony as they prepare to be ordained as Buddhist monks and novices. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
The young soccer teammates and their coach who were rescued from a flooded cave, attend a Buddhist ceremony as they prepare to be ordained as Buddhist monks and novices in the Mae Sai district of northern Thailand. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
The young soccer teammates and their coach who were rescued from a flooded cave, attend a Buddhist ceremony as they prepare to be ordained as Buddhist monks and novices in the Mae Sai district of northern Thailand. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Soccer coach Ekkapol Chanthawong, front, and members of the soccer team who were rescued from a flooded cave, attend a Buddhist ceremony as they prepare to be ordained as Buddhist monks and novices. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Soccer coach Ekkapol Chanthawong, front, and members of the soccer team who were rescued from a flooded cave, attend a Buddhist ceremony as they prepare to be ordained as Buddhist monks and novices. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Soccer coach Ekkapol Chanthawong, left, and members of the soccer team who were rescued from a flooded cave, attend a Buddhist ceremony in the Mae Sai district of northern Thailand. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Soccer coach Ekkapol Chanthawong, left, and members of the soccer team who were rescued from a flooded cave, attend a Buddhist ceremony in the Mae Sai district of northern Thailand. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Soccer teammates Chanin Vibulrungruang, left, and Mongkol Boonpiam, who were rescued last week from a flooded cave are ordained as Buddhist monks and novices. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Soccer teammates Chanin Vibulrungruang, left, and Mongkol Boonpiam, who were rescued last week from a flooded cave are ordained as Buddhist monks and novices. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Buddhist males in Thailand are traditionally expected to enter the monkhood, often as novices, at some point in their lives to show gratitude, often toward their parents for raising them. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Buddhist males in Thailand are traditionally expected to enter the monkhood, often as novices, at some point in their lives to show gratitude, often toward their parents for raising them. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Followers offer banknotes to the soccer team member as they are ordained as Buddhist monks and novices following their dramatic cave rescue last week. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Followers offer banknotes to the soccer team member as they are ordained as Buddhist monks and novices following their dramatic cave rescue last week. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP

Mae Sai, Thailand - The young soccer teammates and their coach who were rescued after being trapped in a cave in northern Thailand have been ordained at a Buddhist temple, a merit-making activity to show thanks for their rescue.

The 11 boys, ages 11 to 16, became Buddhist novices in a Wednesday ceremony, while their 25-year-old coach was ordained as a monk. One boy did not participate because he isn't Buddhist.

The group prepared for their ordinations on Tuesday with ceremonies that included shaving their heads.

Buddhist males in Thailand are traditionally expected to enter the monkhood at some point in their lives. A major reason for the boys to make the gesture was to give thanks for the former Thai navy SEAL who died while taking part in the operation to rescue them.

Bhak Loharjun, right, an army doctor who accompanied the young soccer teammates and their coach inside a cave, prays at a Buddhist ceremony as they prepare to be ordained as Buddhist monks and novices. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Followers offer banknotes to soccer team member Mongkol Boonpiam, as he and his other teammates and coach are ordained as Buddhist monks and novices following their dramatic cave rescue last week. Picture: Sakchai Lalit/AP

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AP