The first official football game in Estonia between JS Meteor, predecessor of JK Tallinna Kalev, and Merkuur on 6 June 1909
Jalgpalliselts Meteor (Football Union Meteor) was formed in 1909 by Tallinn students Julius Reinans and Bernhard Adams. The first coach of the team was an English flax merchant John Urchard, who also ordered first set of football shirts. The first official football game in Estonia was played between JS Meteor and Merkuur Tallinn on 6 June 1909, Meteor won the match 4-2. Two years later, in 1911 the team joined Estonian Sports Association Kalev and changed its name to JK Tallinna Kalev.
Against all odds Tallinna Kalev achieved their second championship. This time the old rival Tallinna Sport seemed to be better, but in the competition of best four teams they could not beat young team of Kalev. With the game ending 0:0 and SK Tallinna Sport went on to beat Tallinna Jalgpalliklubi 3:0, JK Tallinna Kalev now needed to win KS Võitleja Narva with at least 8 goals. By half-time, Kalev led 7:0 and adding four with the remainder of the game meant that Kalev clinched their second Estonian championship after 7 years.
There is a speculation circling around Estonian historians, that Kalev won the championship thanks to match fixing. "KS Võitleja Narva and their goalkeeper Viruvere looked paralyzed, they let Kalev score 11 goals. Aleksander Lugenberg-Mändvere came up with an idea to help Kalev win championship, he was a member of the JK Kalev board and from Narva. Somebody asked him after the game, 'How much did you pay for a goal?' and Lugenberg reportedly answered '250 krones'." (2750 in total, Estonian kroon was pegged to the Swedish krona at par, with a gold standard of 2480 kroon = 1 kg of pure gold)
In 1960, Kalev became the first and the only Estonian club to appear in the Soviet Top League. An opportunity arose when Football Federation of the Soviet Union decided to involve more Soviet Republics and regions to the Top League, including Baltics. Their stint in Class A, as it was also known at the time, lasted for two years. The club finished 19th in 1960 and 22nd in the 1961 season in 22-team league. In their first season, they managed to finish 19th of 22 teams, finishing in front of only three teams, Spartak Vilnius, FC Neftyanik Baku and Chişinău Moldova. The following season remained their last season in the top tier of Soviet football, as they were placed at the last, 22nd place and were relegated. Despite poor results, Kalev managed to play some good games, for instance 0:0 against Lev Yashin's led FC Dynamo Moscow and a 2:2 with FC Spartak Moscow, who finished 3rd that season.
On the foreground from the left: Oskar Üpraus, Ernst Joll, Eduard Ellman, August Lass. On the back row: Otto Silber, Bernhard Rein, Heinrich Paal, Arnold Pihlak, Elmar Kaljot, Hugo Väli, Harald Kaarmann, Ferenc Kónya