Thai soccer team rescued from cave to become novice Buddhist monks

Chanin Vibulrungruang lights a candle with members of the rescued soccer team during a Buddhist ceremony on July 24.

(CNN)The young Thai soccer team whose dramatic evacuation from a cave captured the world's attention took their first steps in becoming novice Buddhist monks on Tuesday, in a ceremony intended to honor their rescuers.

Eleven of the 12 team members who were trapped in the cave system for more than three weeks attended an pre-ordination ceremony on Tuesday morning, before their initiation was completed at a second event in the afternoon.
The gesture was meant to honor Lt. Cmdr. Saman Kunan, a former Thai Navy SEAL who died during the cave rescue operation on July 6.