Thai Cave Boys Want To Be Navy SEALs, Soccer Players

‘I want to help people.’

The Wild Boar soccer team has returned home to their families for the first time since they became trapped inside a Thai cave with their dreams intact, telling a press conference they want to follow in the footsteps of the heroes who saved their lives.

The boys, aged between 11 and 16, and their 25-year-old coach fronted media on Wednesday night after being discharged from hospital.

Alongside an army doctor, hospital staff and Thai Navy SEALS, they shared details of how they survived the ordeal and of their plans for the future.

The boys fronted media in a tightly-controlled press conference. Image: AAP

“I want to become a professional soccer player,” one boy said. He and several of his team mates agreed they also want to become Thai Navy SEALS.

When asked why, he said, “I want to help people.”

“After this incident, I am determined to become a good person of (the) society,” said another.

The boys’ appearance, in front of world media, followed eight days in quarantine at Chiang Rai Hospital. Wearing team shirts bearing the Wild Boars logo, they were met with cheers and applause, following a painstaking 25-day ordeal.

One of the boys said he dreams of playing soccer for Thailand. Image: AAP

The soccer team entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23 and were trapped for ten days before they were discovered by British divers.

“Someone was raising their head above the water and said, ‘hello’,” one boy, Adul said, of the discovery. 

“I went in there and he asked, is anyone there?

“When they came out of the water, I was surprised. I didn’t know what to talk to them (about). I said ‘hello’ or something like that. When they said ‘hello’ to me, I said ‘hello' back.

“It was so magnificent.”

It took another seven days, and meticulous planning, to bring the boys and their coach to safety.

While trapped inside the cave, the boys said they developed “close” relationships with the Navy SEALS who stayed with them, entertaining themselves by playing checkers.

The boys presented a drawn tribute to the family of former Thai Navy Seal Saman Kunan. Image: AAP

They presented a drawn tribute to the family of Saman Kunun, the retired Thai Navy SEAL who died during the rescue.

"Everyone was very sad," the team's coach Ekkapol Chantawong, also known as Ake, said.

"They felt like they were the reason he had to die and his family had to suffer."

Returning home,  the teammates have soccer on their minds and are expected to return to the field in the next few weeks.