Thailand’s soccer boys prepare to ordain as Buddhist novices

MAE SAI, Thailand (AP) — The young soccer teammates and their coach who were trapped in a Thai cave have attended a Buddhist ceremony as they prepare to be ordained to become Buddhist novices and monks.

Eleven of the boys and the coach prayed to ancient relics and offered drinks and desserts placed in gilded bowls to spirits in a ceremony Tuesday at a temple in northern Thailand.

Parchon Pratsakul, governor of Chiang Rai province, says the boys will ordain to become Buddhist novices Wednesday, while the 25-year-old coach will ordain as a monk. The 12th team member who was trapped in the cave won’t take part because he isn’t Buddhist.

Buddhist males in predominantly Buddhist Thailand are traditionally expected to ordain and enter the monkhood, often as novices, at some point in their lives.