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The Thai Soccer Team That Was Trapped In A Flooded Cave Has Returned Home

The boys completed nine days as novice Buddhist monks, a tradition in Thailand for men who experience hardship.

Posted on August 4, 2018, at 7:27 a.m. ET

A Thai soccer team who were trapped for more than two weeks in a flooded cave this summer have returned home to their families after spending nine days as novice Buddhist monks.

Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP / Getty Images

Dressed in traditional orange robes with bare feet at a ceremony on Saturday, 11 members of the Wild Boars soccer team clutched bags embroidered with their team mascot. One boy wasn't ordained as a monk because he is not Buddhist.

The players and their coach, who were rescued in a three-day operation starting on July 8, were ordained in line with Thai tradition for men who undergo extreme hardship.

Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP / Getty Images

After handing back their orange robes, they took part in rituals to mark the end of their retreat.

Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP / Getty Images

The boys bowed their heads and gave flower garlands to the monks of the Wat Phra That Doi Tung temple, and had sacred white thread wrapped around their wrists.

Their ordination was in honor of Samarn Poonan, a former Thai navy SEAL who died trying to rescue them.

Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP / Getty Images

Their coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, 25, will remain a monk for a longer period.

Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP / Getty Images

The boys, meanwhile, were free to leave the temple and return to live with their families, six weeks after they first went missing on June 23.

Lillian Suwanrumpha / AFP / Getty Images

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