LDS Soccer Player Declines to Play in Sunday's World Cup Final

LDS Soccer Player Declines to Play in Sunday’s World Cup Final

The Tahitian National Beach Soccer Team advanced to its first-ever FIFA Beach World Cup final Sunday, where the South Pacific nation fell to host Portugal 5-3.

Things might have been different if one of the Tahitians’ top strikers had played.

But he wasn’t going to find out.

Tahiti played without captain Naea Bennett, a 38-year-old member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who does not play soccer Sundays for his national team as well as his club — eight-time Tahitian first division winners AS Pirae.

Bennett sat out the game because of his religious beliefs, just as he had done for a previous group stage match against Paraguay, which also fell on a Sunday.

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